The world's finest race mare, Winx, will commence training on Monday morning at a secret location in Sydney as she prepares for possibly one of her most important years of racing.
Trainer Chris Waller said the three-time Cox Plate winner had thrived during the short break since her successful spring carnival.
"She's just going to start pre-training and there's a long way to go. I don't come into the equation too much just yet but I've been out to see her and she looks great. It's probably the best she's been in the paddock in her career so that's a good starting point," Waller said.
However, neither he nor Winx's connections would buy into any long-term plans for the champion racehorse and have deferred any decision until next March.
"We have three very powerful options to ponder. We can remain in Australia and tackle the Queen Elizabeth Stakes," Waller said.
"Or we can pull up stumps and send her to England and pit her against rivals across the world. Or after a light autumn give her another spell before she tackles a fourth Cox Plate.
"It's not rocket science but it is acutely important that Winx is the No.1 consideration. Her form, her fitness and her wellbeing are so very much what our decisions will be based on.
"She is a public horse and the owners and I know the responsibility we have to look after her."
Winx is likely to start her autumn campaign in the Apollo Stakes, and she will then progress to the Chipping Norton and her third outing will be in the George Ryder Stakes.
Waller has indicated that after those races have been completed a final decision on what direction Winx takes will be made.
"I want Winx at her best, at her very best at that point of the autumn if she's going to go overseas and represent Australia," he said.
"She's just the same. She looks great just like she did when she was last in work. She's a very mature racehorse now and she will not look a lot different from preparation to preparation as she is fully grown."
There has been talk that Waller carefully hand-picks Winx's preparation in a bid to avoid any firm tracks, which the trainer is always fearful of when placing her in races across Australia.
"I believe the tracks on the east coast of Australia are a little firm. It wasn't a problem during the Flemington four-day carnival but it's time now for us to stop blaming Mother Nature for hard tracks," he said.
The premiership-winning trainer believes that in retrospect missing the $2 million Emirates Stakes on the final day of the VRC carnival was beneficial as it gave the mare an extra two-week break before coming into work.
Waller said that Winx would be commencing work at a boutique pre-training establishment in Sydney but preferred not to announce the name of the farm.
Article courtesy of Fairfax Digital and the Brisbane Times