Hugh Bowman is not taking anything for granted ahead of Winx’s bid to equal Black Caviar’s winning streak of 25.
Bowman says Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes will be the hardest race the champion mare has contested since her first Cox Plate win in 2015.
Sydney’s premier jockey partnered Winx in a gallop on the course proper at Rosehill on Thursday morning in front of a large contingent of local and international media.
“I think the reality is, usually there is one main horse to focus on as opposition, but this week there is three or four, maybe even five, that are primed for the target,” Bowman said.
“All we want is a smooth passage and for her to ger there in the form we’ve seen over the last two or three years.”
Field 🏇: View the Queen Elizabeth Stakes Field
But he says the mare is in great order as she targets her 18th Group One win in Saturday’s 2000m feature race.
“The temperamental issue that seemed to affect her in the barriers seems to have subsided this preparation. She just seems to be a very happy individual,” Bowman said.
He said he wasn’t too concerned by the prospect of equalling the legendary Black Caviar.
“To be honest, breaking the Group One record last start probably has more significance to me than 25 straight,” he said.
Winx claimed a world record 17th Group One win in last month’s George Ryder Stakes.
Bowman nominated Gailo Chop, Humidor and Ambitious as the main threats, with last-start Doncaster Mile winner Happy Clapper also sure to be in the mix.
Trainer Chris Waller likened to the $4 million race to a grand final and said it was an excellent field.
“All the good horses come together and I suppose that creates the best race at this time in the world,” he said.
Waller said the forecast for a firm track did not concern him with the extra distance in the race.
“Over the shorter distances I think she’s a bit vulnerable on a quick track because the speedy horses go so fast. The more pressure in a race the better she becomes.”
The trainer will saddle the champion himself, partly to make sure everything is running smoothly and partly to settle his own nerves.
“The last two minutes (before the race) goes into a bit of a frenzy of shock and emotions that are going through your mind,” he said.
“Even in the race so many things can change. You’re just waiting for that 400 metre mark because that’s when she starts to kick in with her superiority.”
The race will end the mare’s autumn campaign and Waller says he has yet to decide on her spring commitments.
“How she goes on Saturday will depend where she starts off and how long she spells for,” he said.
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