Winx impresses, Chautauqua fails to jump

Caryl Williamson

Champion Winx has shown all the right signs she is on target for another spring campaign in a soft barrier trial at Rosehill.

While most eyes were on the great mare on Monday, those looking for Chautauqua were disappointed with the world's former best sprinter again refusing to jump with the field in the same heat.

If Chautauqua is to race again he must successfully come out of the gates in two further trials.

Winx's jockey Hugh Bowman said the mare was a little anxious in the stalls but jumped well and pleased him with how she finished.

She was wide early in what Bowman believed was the worst part of the track so he eased her back.

"She was a little edgy in the gates which is not unusual but jumped very well and felt superb in the trial," Bowman said.

"I can only judge her by her temperament and her action and today suggested to me that she's excited to be back. I couldn't fault her.

"We've never seen her perform at her best in trials. This morning was about going through the motions and releasing that nervous energy.''

Trainer Chris Waller admitted to a few nerves of his own pre-trial.

"I had a bit of nervous energy myself," he said.

"It (the trial) will help me settle down.

"We still have a bit of fine-tuning to do with Winx. She will have another trial in a couple of weeks and then race in the Winx Stakes on the 18th of August.

"After that she will go to the George Main and then we'll decide whether she stays in Sydney or heads to Melbourne."

The Group One Winx Stakes (1400m) was formerly the Group Two Warwick Stakes which the mare has won for the past two years.

Waller said the lure of an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate was in the back of his and Winx's owners' minds but no risks would be taken.

"We are just taking it one run at a time," he said.

"We're conscious she is in the twilight of her career."

Winx will officially turn seven on August 1, the designated birthday for all southern hemisphere thoroughbreds.

Almost forgotten in the drama of the trial, it was won by 2017 Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign who surged to beat Takedown with Kementari third.

The trio is likely to meet again in the Group Two Missile Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday week..