Waller relaxed as Winx looks to match Black Caviar
Source: CHRIS ROOTS, The Sydney Morning Herald /
Chris Waller is in a relaxed mood as he prepares for one of the biggest weeks of his year, with supermare Winx in outstanding condition ahead of Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.
And although his main focus will clearly be on Winx this week, Waller will still be on the lookout for the next superstar of Australian racing at the Inglis Easter Sale at Riverside Stables.
The sales will help take his attention away from day two of The Championships at Randwick, where the Australian Turf Club is expecting a crowd or about 30,000 to see if Winx can match Black Caviar’s winning streak of 25.
“Everything is spot on with her and Hugh was very happy with what he felt on Saturday,” Waller said. “It is a busy time of year for us but she takes a lot of the attention.
“She is going to be a great way to finish the week and it is something you just always look forward to. The work has been done with her and she is as good as we have had her, which is amazing.”
Bowman was cleared to return to ride Winx in Saturday’s track gallop between races at Randwick, where his two daughters, Bambi and Paige, saw dad on the champion mare for the first time. He only needed a few words, as usual, to sum up his thoughts after an impressive gallop – “Feels as good as she looks,” he said.
Waller didn’t have a winner on the first day of The Championships but he will be back among the major players in the four group 1s on Saturday.
“I think we had a similar day on the same day last year. It is a day you can still take positives from. Comin’ Through was very brave in the Doncaster [where he was second to Happy Clapper] and he will run in the Queen Elizabeth,” Waller said. “We have a very good team of horses in the group 1s this week and I think they will all run well.”
If Winx is the star, Who Shot Thebarman will be the stable’s sentimental favourite, as he looks to win the Sydney Cup as a nine-year-old on Saturday. Waller will also have Libran and Patrick Erin in the two-miler.
“Barman is one of those horses that everyone knows because he has been around for so long and you want him to win another big race,” Waller said. “He always puts in and you know you are going to get from him. If he was to win a Sydney Cup on Saturday, it would be pretty special for all of us.
“Patrick Erin is an interesting runner because he is the next Barman. He is just looking for this sort of trip.”
Waller will be looking to win his second Australian Oaks, the race Winx was last beaten in three years ago, with talented filly Unforgotten, which is coming off a second in the slowly-run Vinery Stud Stakes.
“She just bounces off every run she has and is thriving in the stable,” Waller said. “She mathematically couldn’t win the other day and it was a great effort to get as close as she did. She will probably be able to be closer in the Oaks and we are expecting her to be in the finish.”
Finally, Foxplay arrives in her target race for the autumn as she looks to defend her Coolmore Legacy Stakes title.
“This is the race will have aimed at all preparation and she is in the same form as she was going into it last year,” Waller said.