Starter Dale Jeffs is as anxious as anyone ahead of Winx running in the Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick.
Jeffs will on Saturday be on the starter’s podium just as he was when Winx bombed the start in the Warwick Stakes before recovering to win her 18th straight race.
Jeffs said it was a perfect storm that day as Winx took a backward step as he pressed the button.
“You can’t print my first words,” Jeffs said.
“You always second guess yourself, what happened there, but you know in your gut you were right.
“You can’t wait to get back and watch the video and make sure what you thought happened, had happened.
“I’ve watched that video 100 times over trying to work out would I do anything different, but I wouldn’t.”
Jeffs said he tries to treat each race, trial and everyone equal.
But occasionally a horse like Winx, or another ‘problem child’, comes along that makes Jeffs and his staff wary.
Jeffs and trainer Chris Waller have since worked together on Winx’s barrier manners.
“I spoke with Chris a couple of races after the Warwick Stakes and again on the Monday after,” Jeffs said.
“We came up with a plan to try the barrier blanket and were hopeful it may have worked.
“We’ve tried it and it’s now out of the equation instead of wondering what it may do.”
Waller has instead opted to use ear muffs on the mare.
Winx wears ear muffs in the parade ring and on her way to the barriers, but Jeffs is sceptical they will help in the barriers.
Jeffs said he has a attendant up in the gates who holds one of her ears to stop her rearing.
“Chris is the master trainer and I’m happy to go with whatever he wants,” Jeffs said.
“But in my mind I’m not sure whether they’ll help a horse like her and it may even hinder the barrier attendant in the gates with her.”
The barrier loading procedure in NSW has horses in the 12 horse field split in two divisions.
With Winx drawn in barrier three she will load third of the six horses drawn in the inside bank.