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Image: Steve Hart
Winx is going into the Chipping Norton Stakes better than ever

Far from being concerned about Winx missing her scheduled return, her trainer, jockey and punters believe she is going to the Chipping Norton Stakes better than ever.

The champion was at $1.06 with the TAB on Thursday and if she was to stay at that quote, it would be the shortest price she has ever started.

If she wins she will stand alone as Australia’s leading Group One winner with 16, one more than the unbeaten Black Caviar.

Chris Waller and her owners opted not to start her off in the Group Two Apollo Stakes (1400m) last Saturday week without Hugh Bowman who was suspended

If her trainer had thought it necessary, he would have run her with a replacement jockey but her condition told him otherwise.

“Hugh Bowman is an important part of the Winx story,” Waller said.

“But it’s not just about him riding her. The fact is she didn’t need to run two weeks ago.

“It wasn’t a target race for her.”

Waller has not changed anything in the lead-up to Saturday when she will run over 1600 metres.

She has had her normal two barrier trials and a third under simulated race conditions to ensure her fitness levels are where they should be.

Bowman can see she is more relaxed than she was in the spring when she twice missed the start and looked as if her winning streak would end.

While Waller has to make sure she is fit and ready, Bowman is the one who has to keep her safe on the track, a responsibility he doesn’t take lightly.

And based on her recent trials and trackwork, he is not expecting any of the barrier problems that highlighted her first two starts in the spring.

Bowman rode her in a light gallop on Thursday morning and reiterated she was more relaxed and perhaps a little stronger than the spring.

“Compared to last preparation she ‘s more settled,” he said.

“She’s a bit happier in her own skin.

“This time last preparation it took her a while to relax.

“She was very strong this morning. Mentally and physically she feels very comfortable with me.

“My job is to put Winx in a position where she can do her job.

“She needs someone to steer her and that’s what I do.”

Although the relationship is a strong one, it is not so much an affectionate one.

“I might give her a pat,” Bowman said.

“But she doesn’t really appreciate affection. She’s there to work and wants to work.”

 
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