Punters sweat, but not Waller
fleeting spectre of Turnbull Stakes disaster averted, Chris Waller has declared Winx on target for an unmatched fourth Cox Plate triumph.
Relieved and jubilant after the champion secured a 28th successive victory and 21st Group 1 after Hugh Bowman steered Winx to a dramatic win, Waller lavished praise on horse and rider.
Reacting to the whispers of disbelief that turned to anguished murmurs from punters as Winx’s Flemington farewell threatened to morph into a nightmare, Waller said the wonder mare was exactly where she needed to be for the Cox Plate.
“She’s fit. Today was a gallop for the Cox Plate in three weeks’ time,” Waller said after Winx posted her 32nd win from 37 starts, boosting her earnings to $19,884,920.
“She’ll just chill out now, just have a pretty easy time. Me staying away from her is a good start.
“We’ll join up later in the week and start to work out maintenance, really.
“As much as training Winx is to hold her form, it’s training Winx to stay safe. We’re in safe mode now and it’s a good place to be.”
As rival trainers and jockeys were left incredulous by Winx’s paralysing acceleration to charge from ninth at the 400m to beat stablemate Youngstar by a length, with Kings Will Dream third, Waller defended Bowman’s ride.
“It was a picture-perfect Hugh Bowman ride,” Waller said, icily.
“We were relying on a bit of luck and the gaps came. She had a bit of ground to make up, but we are at Flemington. It allows her to get through her gears.
“You get a few flutters, but once she gets clear running, what will be, will be.
“There will be a day when she’s not as dominant, but all she has to do is repeat her form.”