Winx in ‘beast mode’ in cool track gallop
"SHE was in beast mode!''
This was jockey Kerrin McEvoy's initial comment after riding the world's best racehorse, Winx, in an exhibition gallop between races at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
McEvoy, deputising for Winx's regular jockey Hugh Bowman who is recovering from concussion, rode Winx in a 1000m solo workout, with the champion mare timed to run the trip in 1min2.32sec with her final 600m in 35.46sec.
Winx wasn't out to break any track records but McEvoy could not have been more impressed with the mighty mare's gallop.
"I've ridden her twice previously and that is the best she has felt for me,'' McEvoy said. "She feels likes she has come on from her first-up win, she is in fantastic order.''
Winx strode down home straight near the outside fence with the Rosehill crowd breaking into applause at the 200m mark as the champion started to lengthen stride.
Trainer Chris Waller said the exhibition gallop will have Winx fine-tuned for the Group 1 $1 million George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill next Saturday.
"We are happy with today's work, it's the same as we have done every time she has had a three week gap between runs,'' Waller said.
"This was a good piece of work to stimulate her, and a good piece of work to help keep her settled and that is what I'm here for, to make sure she is right and nice and relaxed.''
Waller said he expects Bowman to be fit to ride Winx when she aims for her 24th consecutive win in the Group 1 $1 million George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens next Saturday.
"I spoke to Hugh (Saturday) morning and he said he was feeling great,'' Waller said.
"Hugh sits his test tomorrow (Monday) and he is very confident he will pass. We have got to remember that seven days ago he was fittest man around so it is not as if he has lost any fitness. He has done everything right and with a very measured approach.''
If Bowman is not cleared to ride Winx, Waller said the replacement jockey would be "one of our normal (stable) riders".
Waller said he will weigh Winx on Monday before determining how much work the great mare will need before the George Ryder Stakes.
"We will see how she comes through today's run,'' Waller said.
"She is pretty straight forward to train but we will weigh her Monday and then have a look at what he needs to do on Tuesday.
"I'm very happy with her going into the George Ryder although there is always a question mark about her coming back from a mile (1600m in the Chipping Norton Stakes) to 1500m.''
Winx is attempting her third successive George Ryder Stakes on Saturday but with a slightly different race program with only the one run back rather than two as was the case in the previous two years.
"With only the one lead-up run, I think she is better,'' Waller said.
"She ran a really high rating in the Ryder last year and I think she is ready to do something similar next Saturday.''
Meantime, Godolphin has booked Brenton Avdulla to ride Randwick Guineas winner Kementari in the George Ryder Stakes. Avdulla will take over from Glyn Schofield who will miss Golden Slipper Day due to suspension.