Waller: ‘It’s intense’ but Winx week will be routine
ONE of the biggest farewells in Australian sport is fast approaching and trainer Chris Waller will keep Winx to her usual routine as he tries to cope with the increasingly intense build-up to the great mare's final race.
The champion mare will line up for the last occasion in the Group 1 $4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Waller is even counting how many fast trackwork gallops Winx has left before she attempts to end her phenomenal race career with a 33rd consecutive win.
"There's two gallops to go and she's certainly well prepared going into her grand final," Waller said after Winx produced a strong piece of work on the course proper before the opener on Derby-Doncaster Day.
"She'll have a similar piece of work on Tuesday morning. We're at the end of her preparation so it's all about maintenance and making sure the horse is safe.
"We've just got to try not to bugger it up now. Our job now is to maintain her and make sure she's sharp.
"We don't need to do too much more to make sure it's a fairy-tale ending."
Winx has scored typically dominant wins in the Apollo Stakes, Chipping Norton Stakes and George Ryder Stakes this autumn, and she is now into $1.06 favouritism to win the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday.
Waller isn't changing anything in the countdown to the most anticipated horse race in memory including having a Thursday morning media call at Rosehill trackwork which has become a ritual in the week Winx races.
"This Thursday morning will even be a bit sad for us,'' Waller said as another chapter ends in the storied Winx career.
"To start with we were overawed with the media mornings but it's become part of Winx's life.
"There's been a lot of great memories. From where I've come from and to be in this position is pretty humbling."
Winx's campaign seems to be going like clockwork which is some respite for Team Winx given the pressure and scrutiny they are under to keep the mighty mare's famous winning streak going for one more race.
"The last week will be quite intense,'' Waller said. "She's got a following, you're hearing about her a lot more and the intensity is amazing.
"We (connections) do have a bond, especially me and Hugh. People don't know what we've gone through and it is intense.
"The respect forever will be there. The bond will last forever."
The great mare will spend the week at Rosehill Gardens, preparing for her farewell race, the $4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
- Light exercise, trot and canter
- Fast gallop over 800-1000m, followed by a massage.
- Afternoon walk.
- Final acceptances and barrier draw where connections find out who Winx will face in her final gate and from which gate she will start.
- Trot and canter, maybe even a swim, depending on the weather.
- Afternoon walk.
- Short, sharp workout over about 800m in front of cameras and journalists as part of a pre-dawn media call at Rosehill Gardens.
- Massage and an afternoon walk.
- Trot and canter, maybe even a swim, depending on the weather
- Afternoon walk.
- Short early morning gallop at Rosehill Gardens to stretch her legs before she hops on the float for the 26km drive to Royal Randwick for the final time.
CLAPPER TO LOOK HIS BEST FOR WINX
Happy Clapper will have a new look when he takes on Winx one more time in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes on Saturday.
"I've taken the blinkers off and put winkers on,'' trainer Pat Webster said.
"I'm hoping by taking the blinkers off he will settle a bit better and run the 2000m out strongly.
"We have to take on Winx and she's the best we've seen but if 'The Clapper' can run second in her last race then that would be a real honour.''
Happy Clapper has finished behind Winx in 10 previous clashes including five second placings.
RANDWICK TO BE AT CAPACITY FOR FAREWELL
The Australian Turf Club is expected to announce in the next few days that the Queen Elizabeth Stakes meeting is a sell-out.
There are only a few hundred general admission tickets left to see Winx's farewell race with a bumper crowd of well over 40,000 expected to Royal Randwick on Saturday.