Return Apollo Stakes win will ignite Winx for farewell campaign

Source: SMH /

She might have run a race record in her return in Saturday’s Apollo Stakes but trainer Chris Waller believes Winx will make a quantum leap in fitness for the next assignment of her farewell campaign.

Winx made her 30th consecutive victory look routine as she eased away from rivals without having to really drop into top gear for too long.

She's apples: Hugh Bowman returns on WInx after her 30th consecutive win in the Apollo Stakes on Saturday
She’s apples: Hugh Bowman returns on WInx after her 30th consecutive win in the Apollo Stakes on Saturday CREDIT:AAP

It was the perfect start to her autumn and she has two weeks before the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick on March 2.

“There will be natural improvement with the run. It will bring her on really well and tighten her up like you can’t believe,” Waller said on radio on Sunday.

“She will go forward in a big way because we have only done the basics at home with her.

“She had very quiet trials, quiet exhibition gallops. [The Apollo] was the first time she has been up to top speed for three or four months, it will really ignite her in two weeks time.”

Waller was delighted to see Winx had lost none of her dominance and still appeared to have something up her sleeve winning at 1400m.

The decision to race on had been a tough one and Waller admitted the fear of defeat is ever-present, even after almost four years unbeaten.

 “We felt there is a responsibility, for the not just racing people but the outside people, who probably jumped on Winx based on this winning run.  I don’t think they could comprehend her getting beat to tell the truth,” he said.

“I go into each raceday thinking about it and how we are going to comprehend it. Who we are going to thank and I have been doing it for a year at least.

“We’ll worry about [a loss] when it comes, if it comes, but hopefully we can draw the curtains on a very illustrious career without ever worrying about it.

“We were mindful of that before we started the preparation.”

The attention will move from Winx to Waller’s rising star The Autumn Sun at Rosehill next weekend as the Golden Rose and Caulfield Guineas winner returns in the Hobartville Stakes. A couple of fair barrier trials have drawn negative comments but they have not worry the premier trainer.

“He has strengthened up since his early three-year-old campaign and everybody has seen the talent he has,” Waller said.

“I’m not concerned about his trials, having dealt with a number of good horses, and colts in particular, I have learnt you keep them happy and don’t force them into doing things.

“This horse’s attitude is fantastic and it is a big part of his repertoire and artillery.

“It is similar to what we see Winx do [in barrier trials], you can see one horse trialling and a different horse race. When the pressure comes on these types of athletes just excel.”

Waller will target the Randwick Guineas with The Autumn Sun before the possibility of a mouth-watering clash with Winx in the George Ryder Stakes.

While records continue to fall for the Waller stable, there is one anomaly he is keen to delete from his record: winning a group 1 in his homeland of New Zealand.

“We had Nobo and Botti run over there on Saturday and they are heading towards the New Zealand Derby because it’s a race their connections would like to win,” Waller said.

“Endless Drama will run in the Haunui Farm Classic at Otaki next Saturday. He is just a step below group 1 company in Australia and was unlucky first-up and it is good chance for him to get a group 1 weight-for-age mile win.”