If Winx is now bigger and stronger as called by Waller, that is not good news for other trainers, a very good horse.
Winx and Hugh Bowman after winning last year's Cox Plate (Image: Darren McNamara)
Chris Waller has confirmed the Cox Plate will be the fifth start for Australia’s best racehorse, in contrast to last year when Winx was third-up into Australasia’s weight-for-age championship.
“She’ll be ready to [resume] in the second half of August, and obviously we have got a long preparation to get through,” Waller said.
“Maybe [then] the Chelmsford and the George Main before coming down to Melbourne (for) the normal lead-ups like the Underwood (and) the Caulfield Stakes, but I think the Cox Plate will be her fifth run.
“Everyone will get plenty of time to see her and hopefully she can keep winning.”
If Winx wins her five likely spring targets she will emulate the great Kingston Town, who in 1981 won the Warwick, Chelmsford, George Main and Caulfield Stakes on the way to his Cox Plate victory.
And it seems a feat that is not out of her reach, with Waller saying the mare’s preparation is well underway.
“She’s in the middle stage of her training, she’s doing three-quarter pace work,” Waller explained.
“She’s bigger, stronger, we have just got to hope she can be better, if it is possible.”
WATCH: Hear from Waller
On the eve of the Doncaster Handicap last year Waller said training a horse as good as Winx brings with it a new level of pressure, so for now, he is happy to lay low.
“I guess now with her every race is a Group 1,” he said.
“We’re enjoying the moment, before the pressure starts to build in the next few weeks, as we start to gear up her work and get closing to trialling and racing.”
Australian Cup winner Preferment is also back in work, and Waller thinks the rising five-year-old has improved once again.
“He’s back in the stable as well. He’s developed into a really good horse,” he said.
“He’ll be set for the Turnbull and depending on how well Winx is going, we might look at the Mackinnon, possibly even another crack at the Melbourne Cup.
“We’re not sure if he stays the two miles but we didn’t get a clear look at him last year, he got knocked over.”
Meanwhile, Waller has four runners in the juvenile race at Rosehill on Saturday as he hopes to unearth another potential star spring three-year-old, and he nominated Octavian Augustus.
“He looks a pretty promising horse, he might end up a Guineas horse, but they’ve got to take a lot of steps before they get there,” Waller said.