MAINLY SU­PERB Anx­ious mo­ments early but Winx charges home

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - RAY THOMAS IN SYD­NEY

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.

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