Both Hugh Bowman and trainer Chris Waller have left Randwick upbeat with Winx’s third in a barrier trial without getting too carried away.
After tagging along at the back of the field, Winx responded when Bowman asked her to shift up a gear and strode strongly to the line.
The mare has won her past 17 starts including two Cox Plates but in keeping with tradition, she has never won a barrier trial.
“It’s probably as good as she’s ever trialled in all honesty,” Bowman said.
“She felt great. She’s in a really good frame of mind. Her action is exactly how it was as she left off last preparation.”
Winx began her winning streak in the Sunshine Coast Guineas in May 2015.
Waller has likened barrier trials to pre-season football games, a test of fitness and well being, and on those scores Winx passed with flying colours.
“It’s great to see her back in this shape and she looks to have a good preparation ahead,” he said.
“I think she is the finished article. She’s finally developed into a mature racehorse. She’s as strong as you’ll ever see her.
“I really liked the way that she settled and quickened up the last 200 metres. To see her go through the line with plenty of running and plenty of authority was an eye-catching thing.”
Winx will return to Randwick on August 8 for another trial before her first-up assignment in the Group Two Warwick Stakes at the track on August 19.
Her program after the Warwick Stakes is pencilled in as the Chelmsford Stakes on September 2, the George Main Stakes two weeks later then either the Craven Plate in Sydney on October 14 or the Caulfield Stakes over the same distance on the same day.
Waller said track conditions would play a part in whether she ran in the Craven Plate or headed to Melbourne to have her final lead-up to the Cox Plate 2017.
Kingston Town is the only horse to win three Cox Plates which he accomplished in 1980, 81 and 82.