February 8, 2023

Winx pleases connections in Rosehill barrier trial

A relaxed Winx heads out to her first barrier trial in preparation for her February 17 comeback in the Apollo (Photo courtesy Racing NSW via Twitter)

Freshened after her historic Cox Plate (G1) three-peat on October 28, supermare Winx is now beginning to gear up for the Australian autumn. At Rosehill Monday morning Sydney time (Sunday 4:15 p.m. EST), the Chris Waller mare turned in her first barrier trial of this preparation.

“I expect her to finish midfield in the trial,” Waller had said of the 900-meter (about 4 1/2-furlong) all-star heat.

Winx accordingly cruised in sixth of nine, but her relaxed attitude, and the way she floated for Hugh Bowman on a tight rein, left connections particularly pleased. Near the back early as Everest winner Redzel and Golden Rose (G1) hero Trapeze Artist went to the fore, Winx reduced her deficit to two lengths at the line. She was never asked to lengthen in an easy day out for the participants.

Trapeze Artist passed the post first, in :54.40 on the good course, in a blanket finish with Hill S. (G2) winner Classic Uniform and Randwick Guineas (G1) third Comin’ Through (another Waller pupil). Next came Group 2-placed Bonny O’Reilly; Victoria Derby (G1) and Spring Champion (G1) hero Ace High; Winx, who edged the leisurely Redzel; and two more Waller stablemates, Irish expatriate Endless Drama and Queensland Oaks (G1) third Oklahoma Girl.

Commenting that he’s happy with Winx’s weight after her vacation, Waller quipped that she doesn’t have the bad habits humans would have on holiday: she has “good food, no nightlife!”

Winx is set for another barrier trial, on February 5 back at Rosehill, to polish off her readiness for her comeback. Waller is planning toward the February 17 Apollo (G2), followed by the Chipping Norton (G1) and George Ryder (G1). The Street Cry mare is the two-time defending champion in all three races, so she could be piling up the three-peats along with her winning streak, currently at 22.

Talk of a Royal Ascot venture is on everyone’s lips, but Waller won’t make any commitments, at least until Winx has come through the George Ryder on March 24.

“The real aim is one race at a time,” her trainer responded to the inevitable Royal Ascot question.

Watch Bowman and Waller address the media after Monday’s trial:

All videos courtesy of Racing NSW