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Winx will give rivals short shrift: Waller

3 minute read

Trainer Chris Waller has dismissed concerns Winx could find the race distance uncomfortably short when she resumes at Royal Randwick tomorrow.

Daily Telegraph, published Friday 17th August 2018, Author, Ray Thomas, Page 45.
Daily Telegraph, published Friday 17th August 2018, Author, Ray Thomas, Page 45.

Sydney's super mare is aiming for her 26th consecutive win in the race named in her honour, the Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m).

This is the first time in a year since Winx has raced at less than 1500m, prompting some to suggest the great champion is vulnerable against young stars Kementari and D'Argento.

But Waller said Winx had been specifically prepared for tomorrow's race and, if successful, the mare will set a national record for consecutive race victories.

The Hall of Famer can also extend her sequence of Group 1 wins to seven - Black Caviar won eight majors to close out her unbeaten race career — and take her earnings to more than $19.2 million.

"Winx has been aimed toward this race since winning the Queen Elizabeth back in the autumn,'' Waller said at Rosehill trackwork yesterday.

"She has got such great speed, a high-cruising speed. The best thing about Winx is she performs under high pressure and can sustain it for a lot longer. I think 1400m first-up is the perfect distance."

Winx has raced seven times over the 1400m distance for five wins. During her famous winning streak, she has won the Apollo Stakes twice and the last two renewals of the Warwick (now Winx) Stakes.

Form expert Gary Crispe analysed Winx's recent 1400m wins and found the mare had returned Timeform ratings as low as 118 and up to 128 in those four successes.

"The last time Winx ran over 1400m was in the Warwick Stakes last year when she missed the start by several lengths,'' Crispe said.

"Winx gave punters heart failure before storming home late, as she so often does, to beat stablemate Foxplay right on the line — running to a Timeform rating of 118, which is well below her master 134 rating.''

Crispe also pointed out that Winx had an average Timeform rating of 129.5 on rain-affected ground and 122 on good ground — which equates to a difference of more than two lengths.

"Even her average winning margins under similar track conditions reveal 4.6 lengths versus 2.2 lengths, again a difference in performance of just over two lengths,'' Crispe said.

"But if Winx runs to her average Timeform rating on good ground then it will take a 126 rating or better performance from any of her male opponents to lower her colours.''

Crispe said of all Winx's rivals tomorrow, Kementari had the highest Timeform rating with a 125 returned after his Randwick Guineas win earlier this year.

"Although the Winx Stakes field lacks genuine depth for Group 1 performers at 1400m, Winx will still need to be on her game to win,'' Crispe said.

"A Timeform rating of the low 120s will probably get the job done but I have no doubt that Kementari will pose a threat if the race unfolds to suit.''

Kementari has a race fitness edge over Winx having had the benefit of a first-up run, closing late to just miss catching Pierata in the Missile Stakes at Randwick two weeks ago.

"I'm sure Kementari will take plenty of benefit from his first-up run as preparade ring observations clearly indicated he had plenty of improvement to come,'' Crispe said.

"It is also worth drawing on his second-up effort last preparation where he was ridden to sit handy in the Hobartville Stakes over 1400m before dashing clear of a quality field in the closing stages to win comfortably, running to a 123 Timeform rating.

"A similar performance will certainly ensure Winx is kept very busy.''

Article taken from Daily Telegraph, published Friday 17th August 2018, Author, Ray Thomas, Page 45.

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