Winx owners: No amount of British hospitality will force our hand

Source: Ben Dorries – Racenet //

Winx’s owners are heading to Ascot on Saturday, on invitation from British racing officials, but no amount of wining and dining will lead them to make any promises about the mare racing in front of The Queen later this year.

Most of the Winx ownership group is in the UK as the wonder mare is a contender for the Longines World’s Best Racehorse award which will be announced in London next Tuesday.

Part-owner Peter Tighe spoke to Racenet from Dublin, Ireland, where he was inspecting a two-year-old colt he bought in America.

Tighe revealed he and Winx’s other owners would be going to the Ascot races on Saturday on invitation from British Racing authorities.

But Tighe said it would be a “total waste of time” at this stage for British officials to try to convince owners to lock in Winx for a Royal Ascot appearance during the famous carnival in June.

Tighe indicated everything would hinge on how Winx returns in her comeback race, with the mare aiming to stretch her famous winning streak to 23 in the Group II Apollo Stakes at Randwick on February 17.

“We are not entertaining any approaches from anyone at the moment, we’ve certainly had invites from the Poms, just like we had invites from Japan and Hong Kong,” Tighe told Racenet.

“We are going to Ascot on Saturday to have a look at the races but it is really a waste of time anyone over here trying to get us to lock Winx in (to Royal Ascot) at this stage.

“Winx is on track for her comeback in the Apollo Stakes and maybe after that we will be in a better position to start thinking about some other plans.

”In the meantime, I and the other (Winx) owners are keen to get to Ascot on Saturday.

“We were invited to Ascot on this Saturday last year as well but the races were cancelled because the track was frozen over.”

Winx will make her first public appearance of 2018 on Monday morning alongside The Everest winner Redzel in a star-studded barrier trial at Rosehill.

The 900m heat on the course proper also includes Victoria Derby winner Ace High and Golden Rose winner Trapeze Artist in a nine-horse field which has earned $28m in prizemoney between them.

“Winx won’t be there to really do anything in her trial on Monday, she will just have a spin around,” Tighe said.

After she resumes in the Apollo, Winx is likely to follow a similar path to last year by potentially running in races such as the George Ryder and Queen Elizabeth.

Waller and connections will wait and see how she returns before deciding whether Europe is an option, with a tilt at an extraordinary fourth consecutive Cox Plate win during the spring in Melbourne also in their thinking.