Winx’s trainer Chris Waller talks about the unique pressure of the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.
PRE-RACE: “The time they leave the mounting yard, it’s a small, confined area and it’s like they’re stepping out amongst a big stage of people and that atmosphere grabs the horses. The horses get on their toes. They love it. The adrenaline starts pumping. Not when they leave the barriers, but when they leave the parade ring.”
BEHIND THE BARRIERS: “There’s a lot of hype. The crowd is so close and it’s just like being in a theatre and the horses feel it as well.”
EARLY IN THE RACE: “They jostle for position and work very hard early to try to find that position and then the pressure just keeps building. They don’t really settle at any stage, they (the jockeys) are just constantly worrying about where other horses are.”
THE BUSINESS END: “From the 1000 metre mark it’s on for young and old. It just creates so much pressure, hence the reason why you don’t want (your horse) to be a little bit soft (in condition). You’ve got to be very fit. It’s probably more like a 2400 metre race than a 2040 metre race.”
DEFENDING CHAMPION WINX: “Having won the race last year in track record time, knowing that all those great horses prior to her have run and won the race yet not run the race time that she’s run, gives you a bit of confidence.”