MAINLY SUPERB Anxious moments early but Winx charges home
FOR a few strides Winx looked to be in trouble. Hugh Bowman was urging her along and the mare seemed to be struggling to stay in touch.
But the moment passed as quickly as Winx accelerated. Suddenly she was surging. The champion mare switched into overdrive and swept home in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick yesterday.
Everyone watching around the nation, those on course, in pubs and clubs, in loungerooms, breathed a collective sigh of relief. The winning streak continues – this was her 20th consecutive win.
A relaxed trainer Chris Waller (pictured) wanted to enjoy the moment rather than over-analyse the win.
“I’m not too worried about how she was travelling in the race, let’s just enjoy Winx for who she is – true champions normally come out and win,’’ Waller said. “It’s great Sydney has embraced her.”
Winx did win – easily on the line. The great mare, sent out $1.12 favourite, was slow away, settled back in the field, was standing the leaders 10 lengths at the 600m yet she accelerated so quickly from the top of the straight she sprinted past Happy Clapper ($15) to win by oneand-a-quarter lengths.
Bowman even stopped riding her 50m from the winning post as the mare cruised clear of her chasing rivals, but he did admit to some tense moments mid-race.
“I wasn’t worried but she didn’t travel into the race like we are accustomed to, which surprised me,’’ Bowman said.
“But once she got a sense of where she was and what she needed to do, she just cuts in and accelerates.
“It is like she is on auto-pilot. She picked up Happy Clapper in about two strides.’’
Bowman conceded Winx may not be as comfortable on the firmer tracks but pointed out she again ran a brilliant time – a race record of 1min33.65sec. “I’d say she will have one more run up here then at some stage she will head to Melbourne,’’ Waller said. “We will lock it in next week and let everybody know what we are doing. It’s not a guessing game. The horse comes first. She will tell me.’’ Waller said he believed Winx was “spot on” for her attempt to equal Kingston Town’s record of three Cox Plates. DOES Godolphin give Alizee the opportunity to emulate her halfbrother Astern and win the Golden Rose next Saturday at Rosehill or r do they wait another week and give her the chance at Group 1 glory in the Flight Stakes?
It’s a pleasant problem to ponder for trainer James Cummings and his Godolphin team after Alizee returned to top form with a powerful win in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m).
With Cummings at Flemington yesterday, assistant trainer Darren Beadman was unsure of immediate plans for the impressive Alizee.
The logical path to Group 1 level for Alizee is the Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 30.
Alizee ($10) appreciated jockey Glyn Schofield’s conservative ride and she pounced on Champagne Cuddles ($ ($3.40) 3.40) to win.