Winx ‘mentally and physically picture perfect’
DECLARING Winx at the height of immense physical and mental powers, Chris Waller has hinted Saturday's Group 1 Turnbull Stakes is likely be the champion's Flemington swansong.
Winx has effortlessly completed preparations, breezing over inside grass course at Flemington, where thousands are expected to pay homage to the champion this weekend.
A stifling $1.15 chance with TAB to post her 28th successive win and 21st Group 1 in a row, Winx was partnered this morning by regular rider Hugh Bowmam as she cruised through her work.
Elated with the condition of the world's top-ranked galloper, Waller was asked if Winx's quest for a 28th successive victory and 21st straight Group 1 would be the last time racegoers would see wonder mare at Headquarters.
"I would say so. We are just taking one run at at time so we haven't got too far ahead of ourselves in that regard," he said.
"Flemington (on) Saturday is an important race.
"Who knows what is around the corner with Winx.
"Who would have thought after one Cox Plate four years ago we would still be here and not just running but running with distinction.
"We do respect the horse, we do respect her age and we do respect she won't be there forever - but we are making the most of it and looking after her the best we can.
"If they (the fans) do want to know when she will stop racing, we haven't said anything yet and she is not stopping yet so we will just push on and take one day as it comes."
Waller said Winx is in prime condition as she builds towards a fourth Cox Plate tilt at The Valley on October 27.
"No difference from 12 months ago. Mentally, perfect, physically picture perfect," he said.
"We take photos of our horses every Monday 52 weeks a year and we compared it to her photo last year and if anything her coat is a little more advanced.
"Whether that means a lot I don't know - but that's the only difference I can see she is shining and ready to perform.
"An important part of it is not only performance on race day but handling mornings like this when there is a lot of fuss. She takes it all within her stride and it is a big part of her being so special.
"She hasn't got the world's best rating for nothing, we just need to make sure she stays the same and she will hold that rating.
"It will only take a champion to beat her or a day where she is no longer as dominant as she has been. There has certainly been no signs of that."
Due to face only nine rivals, headed by Caulfield Cup favourite Kings Will Dream, heavily dappled Winx looked a picture as trainer Chris Waller laid the foundations for her historic Cox Plate tilt in 23 days.
"Obviously we always respect our opposition and again we see some new challengers to her," Waller said. "They are horses who all deserve respect heading towards their various targets.
"She is a star in her own right. We are prepared for the worst as always but it doesn't look like anything will hold her back.
"She hasn't got the world's best rating for nothing. It will take a champion to beat her or a day when she is not as dominant as we have been.
"I'm overwhelmed by the following she has got, the fans are told everything, we haven't said anything yet because she is not stopping yet."
Winx strolled to a 6½-length win in last year's Turnbull Stakes, a performance which encouraged Waller to return to Headquarters this week.
"She seemed so at home last year when running at Flemington for the first time," he said.
"It just seems to be a natural galloping track for horses to jump, find their rhythm and steadily build momentum.
"She is familiar with the routine. She handles herself very well and she's a star - she knows what comes with stardom.
"She works at about 75% pace - which is very standard whether it's a first run or a grand final.
"It's simply maintenance from here and making sure she stays safe.
"Mentally she is perfect, physically, picture perfect.
"We take photos every Monday and compare them. She is shining and ready to perform. She takes it all in her stride."
Waller said Winx was in good condition and had produced two nice pieces of work on the course proper.
"Her spring coat is starting to come through now and she has dappled up," he said.
Waller said Flemington had become a second home to Winx, who spends most of her time at Rosehill in Sydney.
Winx will face several fellow Group 1 winners on Saturday, including Grunt, Mighty Boss and Youngstar.
Waller remains upbeat about Winx as the seven-year-old closes in on an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate at The Valley on October 27.
"I can't say much more about her. Each preparation she comes up the same as before.
"Every preparation before she was getting bigger and stronger but in the last 12 months she hasn't changed much at all in terms of growth but she hasn't gone backwards in terms of ability.