If Winx’s fourth Cox Plate was the wedding, trainer Chris Waller says the Melbourne Cup Carnival is the honeymoon.
The mighty mare has presented perfectly in the wake of her historic victory at Moonee Valley, though Waller’s focus now turns to Flemington with key runners on all four major days.
But while there’s no white sand or cocktails in sight, he said — like any key ceremony — having the Cox Plate out of the way does ease some of the load.
“I guess it’s like a honeymoon (now), really,” Waller said.
“You’ve had the big day, all the pressure, everything went to plan, all the guests were happy, and it was just quite an amazing experience.
“The feedback we’ve got from all the people that follow Winx, follow racing and follow sport … we’ve just had an amazing experience and she’s just an absolute privilege to be part of, that experience, being so close to Winx.”
Zousain is favourite to take out Saturday’s Coolmore Stakes with Waller not taking his eye off the ball despite the hype and history of the weekend’s Valley triumph.
“Coming out of that race and preparing for arguably one of the biggest days on the Australian racing calendar in terms of many races — not just one race … it’s time to get back to business and make sure that we’re putting all of our effort and resources into the next generation of stars that we’ll see unfold in the spring carnival in the next few weeks,” he said.
He said he had grown accustomed to having to reset to post-Cox Plate life after some initial difficulty.
“In the first couple of years it was (tough to do), and both Hugh Bowman and myself commented about it to ourselves, saying how you had to really concentrate, because all of a sudden you’d get to Derby Day at Flemington and the race meeting was over with a few placings that could have been turned into wins,” he said.
“Fortunately, the experience of Winx has been happening for a while now and we’ve learned to make sure we’re just as focused this week as we were on Cox Plate day.”
Winx has presented in fine order since the victory, with Waller saying the seven-year-old doesn’t empty her tank when racing.
“Winx is Winx — she’s just a marvel on the track, off the track she’s like a princess,” he said.
“But how she recovers from her runs is quite remarkable and I guess that’s because — without being arrogant — she’s not putting in 100 per cent on race days. She’s winning with a bit of class and a bit of dominance. We’re not getting to the bottom of her, she’s not walking home flat after a race. She’s actually walking home with a bit of life in her.
“That’s a big part of Winx’s success. It’s a big asset to her.”
He is hopeful that if all tests are positive, Winx could return for another preparation but said he was yet to speak to her owners.
“If she shows that she’s still happy, she’s still enjoying what she does, then she can continue to be a racehorse for a little bit longer yet,” he said. – Herald Sun