Chris Waller says Winx is right on target to collect her 17th consecutive victory in Saturday’s Group One Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.
Everything the Australian superstar has done this campaign has been building up to the A$4 million contest and the trainer couldn’t be happier with how it’s all gone.
“It has been a long preparation to get this far but everything has gone to plan,” Waller said.
“This is the race we have been building towards since she won the Cox Plate last spring. She has had three races this autumn, it has been a trouble-free run so far and she will be very hard to beat.”
Wherever Winx goes, the spotlight is on and jockey Hugh Bowman says she handles it with aplomb.
“No doubt Winx knows she is the queen,” Bowman said.
“She walks with a certain air of confidence and the attention is something she has learned to cope with.’’
Bowman is used to the pressure associated with the star mare and isn’t nervous heading into the event.
“I’m quite relaxed at the moment but as we get closer to the race, the natural energy and emotion will start to filter through my body as it always does,” he said. “At the end of the day, this horse gives me confidence and keeps me relaxed.
“She is going as well as she can be. It gets easier as the preparation goes on because the fitter she gets, the stronger she becomes and the more agile she feels.
“I’ve got a very good understanding of the horse and we are very comfortable together. To me, it is just about doing what I have to do to allow her to do her job — and she makes that very easy for me.”
Winx is a prohibitive $1.10 favourite for the 2,000m event, with long-time rival Hartnell the second favourite in local markets at $12.
“With only nine runners there is less traffic congestion,” Waller said.
“We know Hartnell very well and he is probably the benchmark but you never know where the next good horse is coming from.
“It would be a huge honour if we could win the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. This is the signature race of The Championships and the Sydney autumn carnival. To win a race of this calibre is an honour for anybody but to win with Winx would be very special.”
As well as the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, there are three other Group Ones on the card, including the Australian Oaks, Sydney Cup and Coolmore Legacy Stakes.
The Jockey Club is simulcasting six races from day two of The Championships, starting at 11.55am.