Winx ready to go to a career best in the George Ryder Stakes

Source: CHRIS ROOTS, The Sydney Morning Herald /

There is a sense that everything is working out right for Winx to produce a career best in Saturday’s George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill.

The champion mare will be looking look for her 24th consecutive win, a third George Ryder and a world-record 17th group 1 flat victory. And trainer Chris Waller is expecting her to produce another statement run.

“It was this race last year where she ran her peak rating and I would think everything points to her going just as well going into the race this year,” Waller said. “She has had the perfect preparation and her gallop on Saturday was perfect. It is a worry going from 1600m to 1500m but she has done that before.

“I feel she is ready to run near a peak performance and she will have to against a pretty good field.”

Regular jockey Hugh Bowman should be cleared to ride the champion mare on Monday when he faces a cognitive test after he was knocked out in a fall on March 10.

The Ryder will not be a cakewalk as Godolphin booking Brenton Avdulla to ride star three-year-old Kementari, with a final decision on whether he will challenge Winx to be made later in the week.

Blake Shinn has committed to riding Canterbury Stakes winner Happy Clapper in the Ryder and the Doncaster.

“He has ran second to her twice before and will probably run second again,” trainer Pat Webster said of his top-quality miler. “He has really gone on since the Canterbury Stakes but she is in a different league.”

Happy Clapper is one horse that has been able to hold his form after chasing Winx home in the 2016 Doncaster and the George Main Stakes last year and Webster said it showed a lot about his horse’s character.

“She breaks them because she completely takes horses out of their comfort zone,” Webster said. “They almost try too hard to go with her and beat her and that’s it. Old Clapper – he does that every time he goes around. But when he has taken her on, it is like he has been 15 rounds with Ali.

“You have to pick him back up and let him recover because it is a different level of racing.”