The New Zealand Herald

Winx pairing fit but McEvoy takes reins of Happy Clapper

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Champion Winx and her jockey are fit and ready for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes but her main rival Happy Clapper will have a new rider in the $4 million race.

Kerrin McEvoy will replace Blake Shinn who has won three Group One races on Happy Clapper but has a commitment to the Darren Weirtraine­d Humidor who he rode to run second to Winx in the Cox Plate.

Happy Clapper won Saturday’s Doncaster Mile a few hours after Winx made a cameo appearance at Randwick for a race day gallop with Hugh Bowman aboard. Bowman’s autumn carnival has been interrupte­d twice by illness, firstly because of concussion and again when stood down at Warwick Farm last Wednesday week with a viral condition.

He was originally told to spend two weeks recovering but gained a medical clearance on Friday in time to ride the mare in her workout.

He said he felt much better and more importantl­y Winx felt as good as she has throughout the autumn during which she won her two starts in the Chipping Norton Stakes and George Ryder Stakes.

On Saturday she will be attempting her 25th straight win and her 18th at Group One level with her trainer Chris Waller saying Bowman was an integral part of the process.

“Anybody could ride Winx but expecting anyone to cope with the pressure that goes with riding Winx is a big ask,” Waller said. “He knows her and he knows me better than anyone else apart from my family and it makes my job so much easier.”

Just how important her jockey is was demonstrat­ed when connection­s opted to delay her return and miss the Group Two Apollo Stakes in February when Bowman was suspended.

Winx steps up to 2000m for the Queen Elizabeth for which she is the $1.15 favourite ahead of Happy Clapper at $9. — AAP

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