It’s unusual to tinker with the gear on a horse of Winx’s experience but trainer Chris Waller doesn’t consider the earmuffs she will wear in the Chelmsford Stakes as a major change.
The mare gave her fans and connections a scare in the Warwick Stakes when she missed the start by four lengths before calling on her champion qualities to get her home for her 18th consecutive win.
“She wears earmuffs when she works and when she parades and then they come off before the start. This time they will stay on for the race,” Waller said.
“It will just ensure that she jumps on terms and we can turn that four length gap at the start of the race to the end of the race.”
Earmuffs, which are made of wetsuit-like material, cut out around 20 to 30 per cent of noise.
Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman also considered using a barrier blanket to make sure she stayed calm in the gates but decided against it.
Foxplay, the stablemate she had to run down to win the Warwick Stakes, will not be among her rivals in the Chelmsford (1600m).
“I’m going to keep Foxplay either another week or run her in the Tramway,” Waller said.
As well as making sure Winx is ready for the Chelmsford, Waller has also started working her with a view to Melbourne.
“She worked the reverse way on the course proper at Rosehill on Saturday just to mix it up so that when she does goes to Melbourne she’s had equal use of both legs,” he said.
“I couldn’t be happier with her. I’m pleased to be running her on Saturday because it’s like ticking all the boxes.
“It’ll make sure she’s on song for the George Main two weeks later.”
Waller said ideally Winx would not be running in the Chelmsford but because of what happened last time, he thought she needed to.
“I would like to miss a race because she’s going to have five runs before the Cox Plate,” he said..
“I was keen to miss the Chelmsford. I don’t want to do that now. I want to see her do everything a hundred per cent and that will get everyone’s confidence.
“Obviously the George Main is an important race. It’s a Group One race that means a lot to us. I’m not willing to miss that race.”