Chris Waller is trying to leave sentiment aside as he concentrates on ensuring champion Winx is in the best possible condition to win what will be her home track farewell in the Group One George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill.
Unbeaten in almost four years spanning her past 31 starts and 23 Group One victories, Winx is the $1.06 favourite to claim the weight-for-age George Ryder (1500m) for the fourth-straight year on Saturday.
The Ryder is one of five Group One races on Saturday’s Golden Slipper program at Rosehill, the signature race meeting for the western Sydney track which is home to Waller’s stable and its biggest equine star Winx.
With the curtain anticipated to be drawn on Winx’s remarkable racing career after next month’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick, the Ryder looms as the seven-year-old’s Rosehill swan song.
And the trainer says the mare is “picture perfect” and is a happy horse.
“Rosehill has been her place of training for the majority of her career and it’s where she lives. So it’s her home track,” Waller said.
“It’s very likely it will be her last run here. I think there’s more thought, however, going into the actual race and just preparing her and making sure she’s 100 per cent.
“We’ll get sentimental after the race, no doubt, but at this stage it’s full steam ahead for Rosehill on Saturday which looks to be a great day.
“The Golden Slipper day is always a big day in Australian racing and to have Winx there is an added bonus, I’m sure..
“The beauty of training Winx is that she is effective in all track conditions and we are certainly unsure of how the track will dry out ahead of Saturday’s race but it could well stay in the heavy range.”
Since Winx’s winning streak began in the 2015 Sunshine Coast Guineas, only four of her 31 victories have been at Rosehill.
Winx has seven rivals this time, none of whom have raced her before.
Hugh Bowman said the mare felt “amazing” in Thursday morning’s easy hit-out and she ticks all the boxes again.
“I think one of her best performances was here in the George Ryder two years ago when it was a very heavy track,” Bowman said.
“And with an expected wet track on Saturday, that just gives us more confidence than we already have.
“But it’s really just about going through the process and making sure it’s a trouble-free passage for her and I’m sure she’ll deliver as she has done for the last four years.”
TOP ODDS with Top Tote + Sign-up at Sportsbet via this link and get TOP ODDS with Top Tote +!