Devil Hawk is no Winx but his victory in Brisbane holds special significance for Chris Waller.
The trainer has just collected his seventh Sydney premiership and is preparing the country’s best horse for an attempt at a third Cox Plate.
As the winner of a benchmark race at Doomben on Saturday, Devil Hawk was the first winner from Waller’s new Gold Coast satellite base.
More than that, he is a reminder of how far the trainer has come.
“Devil Hawk is owned by Tony Muollo who owned my first Sydney winner, Party Belle,” Waller said.
That was in May 1999, the year before Waller made his move from New Zealand permanent.
Waller has now trained the winners of 71 Group One races with champion Winx responsible for 12.
She will step out in her second barrier trial at Randwick in as many weeks on Tuesday to tune up for her first assignment this campaign in the Group Two Warwick Stakes on August 19.
Winx has never won a barrier trial and her trainer is not expecting that to change.
Waller compares trials to pre-season football games and wants nothing from the mare other than she shows her fitness and pleases her jockey Hugh Bowman.
“Everything has gone to plan so far. We just have to make sure she gets through the trial well,” Waller said.
“It will be a similar trial to the other day.
“The weather has been kind which is always a plus.”
Bowman’s commitment to the mare extended to a track gallop on Saturday morning just hours after he arrived back from Papua New Guinea where he and fellow jockeys Stephen Baster, Kathy O’Hara and Corey Brown walked the Kokoda Track for charity.