The hype surrounding Winx has been inescapable since Ken Condon arrived in Sydney but the Irish trainer is not obsessing over the champion mare.
Condon has glimpsed one race involving the world’s greatest horse on turf, Red Excitement’s bold attempt to catch Winx unaware in the Group Two Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick last September.
The front-running ploy failed and reaffirmed Condon’s belief he needs a strategy to finish second in Saturday’s $4 million Group One Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
“I’m a realist. Even on an ordinary day for her she’ll have too much for him. There’s no point getting too bogged down on her,” Condon said.
His focus is on ensuring the Group Two quality performer can try to foot it with the likes of Humidor, Gailo Chop and Happy Clapper for the lucrative minor placings.
Joao Moreira jets in from Hong Kong to ride Success Days for the first time, and a clear game plan will be in place when they jump from barrier eight of 10.
“He’s not a horse than can go towards the back and quicken, he’s more of a grinder. If you try and take him back he can grab the bit and then you can forget about it,” Condon said.
“I’ll be happy if he sits third or fourth, relaxes and Joao gives himself a chance.”
Success Days was a $34 chance with the TAB on Friday and perhaps more importantly $13 in the Winx-less market led by the Darren Weir-trained Humidor ($3).
The six-year-old wrapped up his preparations with a low-key work-out at Canterbury on Friday ahead of playing a supporting role as Winx strives to equal Black Caviar’s 25-race winning streak.
Condon brought Success Days south assuming Randwick would be soft or heavy so he was relieved to learn racecourse manager Navesh Ramdhani has used the sprinklers to add 14mm of irrigation since Sunday to provide some cushioning.
With the temperature again forecast to tip 30deg on race day, Condon said keeping Success Days cool was key.
“We’ll keep him in shaded areas as long as we can to keep his core temperature as low as we can for as long as we can,” he said.
Condon admitted he would not have a keen eye on Success Days in the parade ring.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Winx in the flesh. It’ll be exciting,” he said.
“Since we’ve been here it’s been all about Winx so we’re delighted to take part.”
Success Days departs on Tuesday to prepare for the Group One Tattersall’s Gold Cup at The Curragh on May 26.
Claim $300 in Bonus Bets when you deposit $250!*