Winx has shown she is physically on track for her next campaign in a barrier trial at Rosehill but importantly her jockey Hugh Bowman has been thrilled with her mental wellbeing.
The champion was not over-exerted when midfield in her 900m-heat at Rosehill on Monday morning but it was how she went into the gates that pleased Bowman the most.
The mare has had a few barrier problems in the past, most notably when she missed the start in the Warwick Stakes in August and almost brought herself undone and her winning streak to an end.
“I’m happier with her temperament than I was at this time last preparation,” Bowman said.
“I didn’t ask her to do a great deal in the trial but I was pleased with how relaxed and happy she was going into the barriers.
“I’m always focusing on the starts. She can be a bit fractious but she was well behaved today.
“It’s special to have her back and to have her so happy.”
Winx finished sixth in the trial, two lengths behind the winner Trapeze Artist who is on a campaign aimed at the Randwick Guineas.
Trainer Chris Waller was heartened by Bowman’s feedback and said the mare had come out of her record-equalling third Cox Plate win in great order.
“She has come back the same weight as she was before the WFA Cox Plate so that shows me she is on target,” Waller said.
“She will have another barrier trial and then go to the Apollo Stakes which is 26 days from now.”
Waller reiterated there would be no decision on a Royal Ascot campaign until after Winx’s third autumn start in the George Ryder Stakes on March 24.
‘We are just taking it one race at a time,” he said.
“Ascot is in the picture. A lot of people want her to go.
“But to take a horse to the other side of the world, you must respect how hard it is and we never want to push her where she can’t go.
“The horse comes first and we will do the best for her.
“She’ll tell us.”