Winx's return to racing will be delayed by a fortnight after her rider Hugh Bowman resigned himself to his fate yesterday morning when he withdrew a careless riding appeal that was to have been heard in New Zealand this Friday.
Winx's trainer Chris Waller yesterday morning confirmed that the great mare will be held back and race first-up in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes on March 3 rather than Saturday week's Apollo Stakes as had been initially planned, following Bowman's move to accept his back-to-back careless riding suspensions.
"Following consultation between the owners of Winx and I, the decision has been made for Winx to resume her racing preparation on the 3rd of March in the Group 1 Chipping Norton over 1600m," Waller told racing.com. "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 well 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 middle or late in the preparation closer to her significant targets we would have opted to use a suitable replacement rider for Winx, however, we are in the fortunate position that we can alter her starting point without affecting her main targets this preparation."
If Winx records win No 23 in a row in the Chipping Norton, she could race on March 24 in the A$1 million George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill before the A$4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 14.