Trainer Chris Waller believes Winx’s rare ability to cope with the exacting demands of top level racing is one of the keys to her remarkable consistency and longevity.
The champion mare is aiming for her 27th consecutive win in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday, extending her famous winning streak that stretches more than three years.
Waller said Winx is unlike any horse he has trained in the way as she can hold her condition through an exacting race preparation.
“I have never seen it before,’’ Waller said. “You send her to the races and she will drop a couple of kilos and then put her on the scales on a Monday and she’s back to her racing weight. Almost every horse at the start of the preparation will lose 10kg and put some of it back on but not all of it.
“She will stay the same weight, unless you want her to get fitter. We wind her up a bit as her distances step up and then she will tighten up a bit.
“She doesn’t eat any more than other horses, it’s almost like she keeps an eye on her weight. It is quite weird, it is very strange. She is just a unique horse.’’
The trainer also pointed out that in the majority of Winx’s races, she wins with “a bit in hand” and this helps her to recover quickly after a race.
“Maybe it is because she is not under pressure to win (many of) her races,’’ Waller said.
The select eight-horse George Main field includes seven individual Group 1 winners but Winx is so dominant she has been installed as the $1.10 favourite on TAB Fixed Odds.
Waller originally nominated 15 horses for the race but has accepted with five – Winx, Who Shot Thebarman, Egg Tart, Unforgotten and Religify, the only runner yet to win at the top level.
If Winx wins as expected, she will take her world record for Group 1 wins to 20 and her national record of consecutive wins to 27.
“She doesn’t show the signs of slowing down,’’ Waller said. “She is great and I can’t see any reason why she can’t continue on a bit longer.’’
Invictus spirit rubs off on Team Winx
“YOU will see something quite extraordinary and it will humble everyone who is there.’’
This statement was made just moments after Winx had completed trackwork at Rosehill on Thursday morning.
The speaker was Patrick Kidd, the chief executive of the Sydney Invictus Games, and he could have been describing Winx, the champion mare when she attempts her 27th successive win in the Group 1 Colgate Optic White George Main Stakes at Royal Randwick.
But instead Kidd was talking about the Invictus Games and how sport can inspire the rehabilitation of those who have been physically or mentally damaged during military service.
“I didn’t think I was going to see Winx (Thursday) morning, it is an absolute privilege,’’ Kidd said as Winx’s owners, Debbie Kepitis and Peter Tighe, trainer Chris Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman posed for a photograph with the mare and the Invictus Games flag that will fly at Sydney Olympic Park from October 20-27.
“I now have two photos with the Invictus flag – the first was with the Pope in Italy and now this amazing image with Winx.’’
The Invictus Games was founded by Prince Harry in 2014 and has become an international sporting event for wounded, injured and ill service men and women, both active duty and veteran.’
“In about 37 days we are going to see 500 competitors from different nations around the world who will be here in Sydney to celebrate the healing power of sport,’’ Kidd said.
“We can celebrate these incredible people who have been deeply impacted physically and mentally from their service.
“They will inspire a nation about ability, not disability. These individuals, their strength and unconquered spirit, who use sport as a vehicle to recover and rehabilitate.’’
Kidd’s words drew spontaneous applause from Team Winx, the media and onlookers at Rosehill, proving a reminder of how sport and its champions can be a unifying and motivating force. – Ray Thomas, The Daily Telegraph