Winx ready for anointment at the Cathedral of mile racing

Source: Chris Roots

Winx’s home is Rosehill. She owns Moonee Valley, but Randwick is her Opera House.

The Cathedral of mile racing in Australia will once again host the world as Winx looks for her 27th straight victory in the Colgate Optic White Stakes on Saturday.

The bookmakers have her a $1.12 favourite to once again reign supreme and there is confidence from the camp.

“Everything has gone to plan [since the Winx Stakes a month ago],” trainer Chris Waller said assuredly on Thursday.

“I have the world’s best jockey, Hugh Bowman, tell me she feels great.

 “I have my staff telling me she has never been any different or never been any better than she is now.

“What more can I add? She’s picture-perfect.”

The Australian Turf Club is expecting a crowd approaching 15,000 for what will be Winx’s final spring appearance in Sydney. It would not surprise if that number gets to towards 20,000, such is the popularity of Winx.

No.26: Hugh Bowman rides Winx to victory in the Winx Stakes at Royal Randwick.
Photo: AAP

She has won the George Main Stakes, the traditional name of the race for the past two years, on both occasions beating subsequent Epsom winners with ease and if she wins on Saturday, it will be her 20th group 1, and her 11th at Randwick.

Those numbers would make for a great career, let alone in racing at the top level.

With those close to Winx saying she is still at the peak of her powers, it means this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see greatness.

Racecaller Darren Flindell will provide the soundtrack for Winx on Saturday. “It is a unique situation with her,” Flindell said. “You are normally focused on one runner in a race like you are with her in races.

“It is funny in the race, you know what is about to happen with her, so from the turn you are waiting for it.

 “Fortunately she gets out wide and gets into the clear, but the funny thing is that you are so confident she will pick them up.

“There is no horse I have called that you can be assured she is going to pick them up in a few strides. You can call her the winner before she hits the front.”

Typical finish: Winx makes her run from the far right in the race named in her honour.
Photo: AAP

Racing NSW chief steward Marc Van Gestel admits to having a sneak peak to see where she is in the run as well.

“We have made comment in the past during the run that she is a long way back,” he said. “She is a very special horse and always seems to come through.

“We get quite excited hearing Darren call when she is making her run.”

There was confidence from the man who will be in the saddle on Thursday morning as well. Bowman said Winx was improving into a preparation that will end with a shot at a fourth Cox Plate.

“She is in great order and has come on well since her last run,” he said.

“I’m very comfortable with where she is at. A lot more comfortable leading into the second-up run because we have seen her come to the races and perform at the level we know she can and stepping up to the 1600m on the weekend is a more suitable distance for her.

“She worked with a partner and it’s the first time she worked in company this preparation. It was a very strong piece of work and she is certainly ready to go, we are just trying to keep her as relaxed as we can ahead of the big day.”