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15th of October 2018

Sport



Winx picture-perfect for Sydney farewell

As dominant as Winx has been for the past couple of years, it seems strange that those close to the stable believe she might be even better as a seven-year-old.

"I have the world's best jockey, Hugh Bowman, tell me she feels great. I have my staff telling me she has never been any different or never been any better than she is now," Waller said. "What more can I add? She's picture perfect."

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Saturday could be the final time for Sydney punters to see the champion mare this spring as she looks for a 20th group 1 victory and 11th at Randwick before  her campaign moves to Melbourne for a shot at an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate.

Once again, the preparation has been masterfully managed by Waller. Winx has he's never been overtaxed, which has contributed to her air of inevitability whenever she steps on to the track.

“It was a guessing game with her, the first two years of her life, because she kept putting on weight,” Waller said. “She has come back stronger again this prep.

“I don’t get confused about that anymore because she has still been growing and developing up until this prep. She doesn’t show the signs of slow down. She just holds her condition right through every prep.

“I have never see it before. She will stay the same weight. She doesn't eat any more than other horses. It's almost like she keeps an eye on her weight. It is quite weird.

“You will send her to the races and she will drop a couple of kilos, then you put her on the scales on a Monday and she is back within a kilo or two of her racing weight.”

Waller doesn’t believe Winx has ever been fully tested in her winning streak, and hopes it will be the same on Saturday.

“You would have to go through each run and I would say that when she missed the start [in 2017 Warwick Stakes] she had to reel off impossible sectionals to win [was the closest she came to being fully extended],” he said.

“Hughie  said that day was the only time he had to ask her for an extreme effort. That is the only time I have heard Hugh say, 'I had to get serious on her to pick up'.”

It is a race Bowman remembers well.

“I look at the video of that and think, 'How did we do that',” Bowman said. “Generally she is so smooth that she gets herself into the race and just waits for me to say go. That day she knew she had had a run. I had to make her do it. But she is just such a competitor that she wanted to win.”

Racing writer for The Sydney Morning Herald

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