WINX turned potential into performance when she toyed with her rivals in the Group 2 $175,000 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller, who was at Flemington where his crack colt Brazen Beau scored a brilliant win in the Newmarket Handicap, decided against a Coolmore Classic start for Winx, opting for a race against her own age instead.
It proved a masterstroke as Winx emphatically regained winning form and is now on the Group 1 glory trial.
“As we’ve seen plenty of times, Chris — Mr Waller I should say — knows how to set them for races,’’ jockey Tommy Berry said. “He took the touch easier option and skipped the Coolmore for this race and the win would have given the filly a lot of confidence.’’
Winx ($2.45 favourite) became the first filly since Shania Dane in 2005 to win the Phar Lap Stakes when she swept past her rivals to win comfortably by nearly two lengths from Hauraki ($7.50) with Supara ($4.60) a short head away third.
Waller’s Sydney stable representative Liam Prior said the filly was “nothing but dominant.’’
“She showed she is probably a class above those sort of horses,’’ Prior said. “We anticipated being a touch more positive but to Tommy’s credit he was patient.
“He bided his time, got her switched off, balanced her up at the top of the straight and was able to use her very good turn of foot to put them away.”
Prior said Winx’s main goal this autumn is the Group 1 $1 million ATC Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 11.
“From the beginning of the prep she has been on an Oaks path,’’ Prior said. “If we can get her to the Vinery Stud Stakes over 2000m I think that will suit her down to the ground.”
TAB Fixed Odds price assessors reacted immediately to Winx’s win, firming the filly odds from $11 to $6 for the ATC Australian Oaks behind First Seal ($4.60).