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.”

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