Filly can enhance the Winx moment

Why trainer Chris Waller prefers to sit alone and watch Winx race
April 10, 2019
The Autumn Sun decision imminent
April 10, 2019


Owner Brae Sokolski travels to Sydney on Saturday with two specific goals in mind.

Firstly, a filly he part-owns, Verry Elleegant, must triumph as the favourite in the ATC Oaks to pave the way for Chris Waller’s 100th career Group 1 winner 40 minutes later when the retiring queen of racing, Winx, struts her stuff for the final time in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Secondly, he intends thoroughly enjoying the moment when his galloper Mask Of Time steps onto the track to take on the super mare that has featured often in Sokolski’s highlight reel during his relatively short time in racing.

“We’re part of the story if we can make it 99 for Chris and then Winx can bow out with his 100th Group 1 win,” the owner said on Wednesday.

In truth, Sokolski-owned horses have already featured in Winx’s remarkable sequence of victories.

“She’s beaten us a number of times with Humidor and Kings Will Dream. We’ve raced her half a dozen times and come off second-best every time, but there have been a few moments.

“With Humidor, at the 100-metre mark (of the 2017 Cox Plate), for a fleeting moment, I thought we might beat her and then with Kings Will Dream at the 200-metre mark of the (2018) Turnbull, we thought we may beat her as well.

“Of course she was too good for us but Humidor’s effort that year gets overlooked a little.

“He is the only horse in Winx’s winning streak of 32 races to run a faster last sectional than her.

“No horse has ever taken ground off Winx over the last 200 metres. The horses that have given her a fright have always been a long way in front of her and she’s reeled them in but he’s actually taken ground off her.

“I think that is something that stands Humidor in amazing stead relative to any other horse that’s raced against Winx.”

Humidor has not raced since pulling up with suspensory issues when unplaced in last spring’s Cox Plate but Sokolski said the horse is on track for a spring return.

“Humidor’s fantastic,” he said. “He’s basically finished his recuperation and he’s weeks away from going back into full training.

“He’ll probably do some pre-training on the beach and then there’s every intention of giving him a spring campaign aimed at the Cox Plate.”

As for Kings Will Dream, who fractured his pelvis in the Cox Plate, he’s this week been given the all-clear to go back into work.

“We got the all clear yesterday,” Sokolski said. “The vet said it’s 100 per cent all heeled so he’ll do a little bit of water walking for a few weeks and then give him four weeks to freshen up and then he’ll be with Chris Waller by the end of May.”

Sokolski also has a share in last spring’s Melbourne Cup fourth-placegetter Finche, who missed this autumn with a minor soft tissue injury but will be also given a Melbourne Cup campaign by Waller in spring.

As the crowd farewells Winx on Saturday, Sokolski and his fellow part-owners of Verry Elleegant suddenly could have claims to having one of the best mares in the country if she can prove herself at 2400m.

“We want to see her settle and run out a strong mile-and-a-half but everything about the filly from the way she races to her pedigree suggests there is no reason why she shouldn’t run out a mile-and-a-half and beyond,” he said.

“The Cups are there for her next spring if she can.” –