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Waller can’t fault Winx in Plate build-up

Chris Waller fronts the media to talk about Winx.
Chris Waller says Winx has enjoyed a perfect preparation for a history-making Cox Plate bid.

A faultless few weeks since Winx’s Turnbull Stakes win has the champion mare perfectly placed for her attempt at a record-equalling third Cox Plate.

“The Cox Plate last year we said on that day it had to be a champion to beat her because she was as good as we could have her,” trainer Chris Waller told reporters on Thursday.

“Nothing’s changed going into this year’s Cox Plate.

“Her semi-final run in the Turnbull was very impressive. It will be a stronger field on Saturday but her work since then, and a perfect three-week gap between races, couldn’t have been any better.

“So that to me would suggest she’s very well … every check that we’re looking for has been perfect.”

Winx is the $1.15 favourite to join Kingston Town as a three-time Cox Plate winner on Saturday at Moonee Valley.

Unbeaten in her past 21 starts, Winx faces eight rivals and Waller said everything had gone to plan leading in.

“With any animal, any sportsperson, you’re always a little cautious of what may go wrong,” he said.

“We know we’ve got the right horse, a great jockey, the right race, and everything has worked towards this since she won the Cox Plate last year.

“We’re just trying to keep everything in a similar pattern to last year and thankfully everything has gone well.”

He says condition-wise, Winx is carrying more weight this year which suggests she is a stronger horse with more muscle.

“Does it really make them run faster? I don’t know,” he said.

“Potentially it could make them a little bit more explosive. But it’s hard to detract when she did set a track record as a lighter horse as a four-year-old and won by the biggest margin as a five-year-old.

“And here she is now as a six-year-old in good form and still holding together very well.”

Winx galloped at Moonee Valley on Tuesday and did three-quarter pace work at Flemington on Thursday.

Her main gallop was last Saturday at Flemington.

“Hugh (Bowman) was equally as impressed in that work-out as he was this time last year in her final serious piece of work going into the race,” Waller said.

Waller is well aware of the history surrounding Winx’s third Cox Plate bid.

Victory would also see Winx overtake Makybe Diva as Australian racing’s highest prize money earner and join Black Caviar on a record 15 Group One wins.

“We understand the level of expectation of everybody and it’s fantastic to see it’s a sell-out crowd,” Waller said.

“It really is a proud moment for our sport and us that’s directly involved with Winx.”

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