Winx return delayed until next month's Chipping Norton Stakes

Winx return delayed until next month's Chipping Norton Stakes

Chris Waller will use Winx's Chipping Norton Stakes return as a test run for the mare's possible first-up run at a mile in the United Kingdom later this year after delaying her reappearance at the track until Hugh Bowman is back in the saddle.

Winx had been scheduled to return in the Apollo Stakes on February 17 but Bowman will be serving the second of two careless riding suspensions after failing in an appeal on Monday.

Streak: Winx will wait until Hugh Bowman is available to return in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick on March 3.

Streak: Winx will wait until Hugh Bowman is available to return in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick on March 3.

Photo: Brendan Esposito

Waller stated in a press release that Bowman was a crucial part of Winx's 22-race winning streak and will now have plenty to ponder when the the three-time Cox Plate heroine returns over the tough Randwick mile, a possible precursor to her running in the Lockinge Stakes over the same distance if she heads to Europe.


"It helps in a way with the future what may happen," Waller said. "It will be good to see how she reacts at the mile first-up with a view to what might happen if we go to England. It will give us some indication what we need to do to have her at her best.

"We will look to trial her again to keep her fitness levels up and she will probably have a day at the races as well. We are happy with how she has come back and she is ready for the races."

Waller decided to dodge the Apollo Stakes after Bowman withdrew his appeal against a careless riding suspension stemming from the Karaka Millions meeting in New Zealand, ending any chance he had of being available for the Apollo Stakes.

"Hugh Bowman is a very important part of Winx and we feel that we can go straight into the Chipping Norton first up without the need to resume in the Apollo Stakes as we had originally planned," Waller said in a statement.

"She races well fresh and we are well ahead of schedule with her, so I will simply give her a third trial to ensure her fitness levels are high enough to compete at her best in this race.

"Should Hugh have been suspended in the middle or late in the preparation closer to her significant targets we would have opted to use a suitable replacement rider for Winx, however we are in the fortunate position that we can alter her starting point without affecting her main targets this preparation.

"We continue to be overwhelmed by the support shown towards Winx and do not take for granted the impact she has on her fans and followers throughout Australia and across the world."

Winx ran fifth in her second barrier trial on Monday and has options of having another trial or a race-day gallop to maintain fitness level before the Norton on March 3.

The trial would either be at Warwick Farm on February 15 or Rosehill on February 19 where Bowman could ride her.

He also would be able to ride Winx in a raceday gallop while suspended if Waller opts to do that. The world's best jockey said after the Monday's trial that Winx was actually where he wanted her to be fitness wise but she saved her best for race day.

"She doesn't go out with the mindset in a trial as compared to a race. It's interesting how she knows it's not game day," Bowman said.

"She was good in the barriers and seemed a lot more alert. It was all pretty smooth and can head to the races now, wherever that may be.

"We know what's under the bonnet. So we'll wait for prizemoney for that."


with Adam Pengilly

Chris Roots

Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald

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