Waller takes Winx for reconnaissance mission ahead of Caulfield Stakes
SUPER mare Winx has scared off all but two of her rivals, with just three runners accepting for Saturday’s Group 1 Caulfield Stakes.
In what looms as an easy romp to a black type win, Winx will take on just Black Heart Bart and He Or She in the 2000m race.
Winx, going for her 12th straight win, has been installed a $1.15 favourite with TAB ahead of Black Heart Bart ($5.50) and He Or She ($21).
Trainer Chris Waller and Hugh Bowman are certain that Melbourne racegoers would see an improved Winxracing in Melbourne for just the second time since her Cox Plate win last year.
The mighty mare was given a look around Caulfield on Wednesday morning.
Waller said the small field didn’t worry him.
“She’s very adaptable. She handles, fast and slow tempo,” the trainer said.
While Bowman said the small field wouldn’t make any difference to him.
“It takes the pressure off as far as riding her goes but, in saying that, I am mindful she has a big task ahead, regardless of this Saturday,” the jockey said before the field was declared.
“If there is three or four runners, I am mindful she has to race at a premium to make sure she is ready for the main event in the Cox Plate in a couple of weeks’ time.
“Tactics go out the window in a small field. I’ll just be wherever I’m comfortable.
“In the small field I can sit last and only be spotting the horses a couple of lengths.
“I don’t care whether I lead or sit outside the leader but in a small field I can sit last and only be spotting the others a few lengths.”
Bowman believes Winx is a better horse going the anticlockwise Melbourne direction than the Sydney way.
“I think she’s a bit more comfortable the Melbourne way of going,” he said. “She likes to put her near side shoulder into the corners and then switches back to the Sydney leg to hit top gear.
“She’s felt really good going the reverse way at Rosehill for her last couple of gallops.”
Waller took Winx for a first look at Caulfield on Wednesday morning in preparation for her first start at the track on Saturday.
Caulfield, Saturday, 3.15pm
1 BLACK HEART BART D Weir B Rawiller (1) 59kg
2 HE OR SHE D & B Hayes & T Dabernig C Williams (2) 59kg
3 WINX C Waller H Bowman (3) 57kg
Winx, ridden by Bowman, galloped over 1000m with Waller’s three-year-old filly Foxplay, who is favourite for Saturday’s Thousand Guineas.
Throughout the gallop, Winx was six lengths in front of Foxplay, who was ridden by Craig Newitt.
Waller described the trip to Caulfield “as a reconnaissance mission.”
“It might make a five per cent difference but that’s an important five per cent which could make all the difference,” Waller said. “It’s about giving the horse a trip away from home base at Flemington. It wasn’t a workout for fitness it was simply getting used to the surroundings and it might take away a few of the butterflies for a big race.”
Waller said Winx already had her fitness base and it was about keeping her ticking over for Saturday. Bowman thought she handled the track perfectly.
Waller estimates Winx is a five to 10 per cent better horse than when she won last year’s Cox Plate at her only Melbourne appearance in her 21-start career.
“She’s a bigger, stronger and more mature mare,” he said. “This time last year she was new and unsure of everything and not used to being under the pressure of a race like the Caulfield Stakes, or Cox Plates and Doncasters. Now she’s learnt to cope.”
Story courtesy Michael Manly – Courier Mail/Herald Sun