Winx steals the show with impressive barrier trial win at Randwick

Source: RAY THOMAS, The Daily Telegraph /

THERE was no prizemoney and you couldn’t have a bet but there has never been a bigger crowd or a louder cheer for a barrier trial.

But then again, there has never been a horse like Winx, either.

Winx, one of the all-time great champions, ran in a special 1200m barrier trial between races at Royal Randwick on Saturday and, as usual, the mare stole the show.

Most punters at Randwick left the betting ring and the comforts of the grandstand to come out and watch Winx go through the motions in her trial.

The applause started to break out at the 200m and the cheers grew louder as Winx raced clear.

Hugh Bowman put Winx through her paces at Randwick on Saturday.


For the record, Winx with Hugh Bowman in the saddle, won the trial by nearly four lengths, recording 1m 10.3s for 1200m with a final 600m sectional of 34.31s.

Winx’s time was faster than the race time of 1m 10.53s (last 600m in 35.14s) Kaepernick recorded to win the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes run 35 minutes after the trial.

Trainer Chris Waller said the barrier trial was ideal preparation for Winx’s comeback race, the Group 1 $500,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on March 3.

“The trial was run at a good gallop and Hughie had to ask Winx at the 500m to make sure she was in tune,’’ Waller said. “It is hard to simulate race conditions in a trial but we went pretty close today.

“The key now is not to over-train her between now and the Chipping Norton Stakes. She has had a pretty solid trial today so we know where she is at now.

“In two weeks, we will have her ready to run in a solid mile race.’’

Bowman was fitted with a camera and a microphone for the barrier trial which gave viewers an insider’s look at Winx in action.

Winx has made a mess of the start previously but Bowman said it was encouraging to see how well behaved the great mare was in the barriers on Saturday.

Winx was the star attraction at Randwick on Saturday. The mighty mare will resume in the Chipping Norton Stakes next month.


“She jumped away well which was a positive sign,’’ Bowman said.

“I knew I going to get into position today, I knew no one was going to hold me out.

“She travelled well but was left a little flat footed at the 600m and understandably so over 1200m.

 “But from the 300m she was back to her normal self and that competitive spirit really burned the last 200m.

“She might have been tricked into thinking it was a race but she certainly responded as if it was a raceday and not like she would in a trial.’’

The trial was so impressive TAB Fixed Odds even adjusted Winx’s quote for the Chipping Norton Stakes, trimming her odds from $1.15 to $1.10.

Winx, who is on a 22-race winning streak that stretches nearly three years, resumes in the Chipping Norton Stakes and then goes to the Group 1 George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on March 24.

After the Ryder, Waller will decide whether Winx contests the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Day Two of The Championships on April 14 and if she will be aimed at England’s Royal Ascot carnival in June.