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05 Jan

Chris Waller believes Winx is the best she’s been heading to Chelmsford Stakes

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Best she’s been: Winx will race in the Chelmsford Stakes on Saturday. Photo: Nick MoirThe air of invincibility about Winx is scaring off rivals.
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The champion mare will face a small field again in Saturday’s Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick as trainers start to plan around her as the spring starts in earnest.

Winx will be looking for her 11th straight win and after her show of force in the Warwick Stakes two week ago, she is ready to take another step on the path to the Cox Plate.

“I know exactly where she is at now, that is the best form she has been in,” trainer Chris Waller told Sky sports radio on Sunday. “I just have to maintain her to next Saturday … and hopefully we’ll see another improvement.”

Godolphin will only have Warwick Stakes runner-up Hartnell in the group 2, while James Cummings is flirting with the idea of running three-year-old Prized Icon against the star mare and Entirely Platinum will be nominated by Team Hawkes.

Waller is likely to  resume four-time group 1 winner Preferment and have stayers Storm The Stars, Grand Marshal and Who Shot Thebarman continue to get miles into their legs for targets later in the spring in the Chelmsford.​

Kathy O’Hara has been put on standby to ride Prized Icon at 50.5kg in the weight-for-age group 2, which would be a drop of 10½kg from the Champagne Stakes winner’s return, but he will be entered in the Ming Dynasty Stakes and could still go to the Golden Rose.

Many will take the option of chasing the exemption from the Cox Plate ballot in Saturday’s Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley instead of coming to Sydney.

David Hayes will send Dibayani, which was runner-up to Winx in the Chipping Norton Stakes in autumn, to Sydney for the Tramway Stakes.

“He is probably not ready for a mile but you don’t want to be taking her on,” Hayes said. “He is heading to the Epsom and we will get there by avoiding Winx.”

Winx’s profile continues to grow and jockey Hugh Bowman signed colours for charities that connections have chosen to support on Saturday.

The ATC is hoping her presence will bring out another record crowd for the start of spring at Randwick on Saturday.

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