Tidy workout signals Winx primed for farewell
Chris Waller has one overriding objective as Winx prepares to make her final competitive race-day appearance at Randwick on Saturday.
"Try not to bugger it up in eight days," Waller mused as the champion floated around Randwick in a special track gallop.
Unbeaten in 33 starts - a sequence stretching back to April, 2015 - Winx will take her bows in the Group 1 $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) in her 43rd, and last, appearance.
Methodical to a fault, Waller admitted the gallop was as much about soothing his nerves as gauging the wonder mare's fitness levels ahead of the most anticipated racing farewell in decades.
Five years after starting her career with victory over 1100m at Rosehill in June, 2014, Winx will chase a departing 37th triumph as the world's best racehorse.
Waller is convinced the four-time Cox Plate winner is perfectly primed to depart the stage she has dominated for four seasons.
"It's the same as every time. She looks pretty good to me," Waller said.
"What are we trying to look for? Just making sure the horse is staying the same, staying safe and not letting her get away on us, as we say.
"(With) three weeks between runs, today was important to help settle the nerves of the horse, trainer, strappers and the team all around her.
"It does get to us a little bit but days like today, obviously it's for the horse but it helps all for us all around."
Certain to again stifle betting markets on Saturday, Winx cruised around Randwick's course proper under Hugh Bowman, sweeping over the last 600m in 34.67sec.
Bowman was typically circumspect about the workout, which was witnessed by early arriving spectators.
"Nothing really to report," Bowman said.
"It was a very straight-forward piece of work and I think she pulled up better than I did."
With the final field to be declared on Wednesday, TAB has already installed Winx $1.06 favourite to continue a phenomenal winning streak.
Happy Clapper, who has challenged Winx on 10 occasions, finishing runner-up five times, will be given the improbable task of lowering his nemesis colours for the first time.
He's Eminent is $15 second favourite ahead of Happy Clapper ($21).
Winx will chase her third Queen Elizabeth victory and if, as expected, she closes her astonishing career in triumph, she will retire with a world record 25 Group 1 scalps.