Winx Abandons Apollo Stakes to Wait for Bowman’s Return
Is Chris Waller acting from superstition or logic in pulling Winx out of the Group 2 Apollo Stakes over the prospect of not having Hugh Bowman available to ride her at Randwick on February 17?
If we were on a 22 race winning streak, or a three race winning streak, we would use all the logic at our disposal and a substantial pinch of intuition and follow the course that meant the fewest changes to the formula.
The latest news is that Waller will target Winx for the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600 m wfa) on March 3, rather than trust his champion mare to another rider.
Imagine the hue and cry if Winx finally loses from skipping the Apollo.
Still, the horse- rider bond should not be ignored. Waller, Winx and all her connections have plenty of options, including an overseas jaunt to bow to the Queen after the autumn season in Australia concludes.
Winx did win the Chipping Norton last year with an easing two length win in a race that was most remarkable because, of the 10 horses in the field, six of them were from Waller’s stables, including third-placer Who Shot Thebarman. Winx also won in 2016, so it would seem that Warwick Farm is her yard, her game, her rules.
A statement from the Waller operation read, in part, “Hugh Bowman is a very important part of Winx and we feel that we can go straight into the Chipping Norton first up without the need to resume in the Apollo Stakes as we had originally planned. She races well fresh and we are ahead of schedule with her, so I will simply give her a third trial to ensure her fitness levels are high enough to compete at her best in this race. Should Hugh have been suspended in the middle or late in the preparation closer to her significant targets we would have opted to (use) a suitable replacement rider.”
When Bowman’s current suspensions end, he will have to try to stay out of trouble until the Chipping Norton.