Champion mare Winx could equal Black Caviar’s record of 25 straight wins this autumn, following a successful return to the track in Sydney this morning.
The six-year-old finished sixth in a barrier trial at Rosehill in her first public appearance since winning her third Cox Plate.
Jockey Hugh Bowman said he was happy with Winx’s performance in the trial.
“She felt great,” Bowman said.
“For me it’s about her being happy and if she’s happy the rest will fall into place.
“I didn’t ask her to do a great deal. It was pretty much a morning out for her, but she recovered well and by the time I got back to the enclosure her breathing was pretty normal.”
Like many of us, Winx has put on a few extra pounds over the holiday season, but her trainer Chris Waller believes she’s as good as ever.
“She doesn’t have the bad habits of many people,” he said.
“She has a strict holiday, she’s on a strict diet, good food, no nightlife, just enjoying herself.
“It’s important that she doesn’t get too big and heavy because like all athletes there can be injuries getting through to full fitness.”
Winx is now chasing her 23rd consecutive win and could race up to four times this campaign.
“While she’s enjoying it and her body language is telling us she’s enjoying it, she’ll keep racing,” Waller said.
But Waller said he will wait to make a call on whether to take Winx to race overseas after her first few races back.
Finding the next Winx
Winx’s popularity on the track has helped boost yearling sales as buyers search for her successor.
The recent Magic Millions yearling sales on the Gold Coast grossed $166 million, $20 million more than last year.
Winx was purchased at the sale for $230,000 several years ago and now has won more than $15 million in prize money.
Next month 800 yearlings will be auctioned at the Inglis Classic Sales in Western Sydney, the first year the sales have operated at the new facility near Warwick Farm following a $140 million investment.
Finding a champion at a yearling sale is a tricky task because you don’t know what you’re getting when you buy a yearling — the one-year-olds are untested and unknown.
So what is the secret to finding the next champion?
The experts say if it has straight legs, a deep chest for lung capacity and walks like it’s on a Paris fashion runway you’re off to a good start.
But sometimes it comes down to good luck, as Gary Portelli, the trainer of She Will Reign, knows better than most.
“A girl like this proves a lot of theories wrong,” he said.
“She [Will Reign] was just a $20,000 horse and then won a Golden Slipper, she’s won $3 million for her owners.
“It’s just about being involved, you can’t buy a guarantee.”