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Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Waller warms to European campaign for superstar Winx

A Cox Plate hat-trick remains the top target for Winx
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Chris Waller has said the world is waiting to welcome superstar mare Winx as he gave his strongest indication yet the sport's top turf racehorse will compete in Europe.

With interest in Winx reaching fever pitch in Australia after she extended her remarkable unbeaten run to 20 races in Saturday's Group 1 Colgate Optic White George Main Stakes at Randwick, Waller released a statement on Wednesday to outline his plans for the rest of 2017 and beyond.

A shot at a historic third consecutive Cox Plate next month remains top of the to-do list but Waller said the daughter of Street Cry could yet head to Europe next year, with a three-race campaign, likely to include Royal Ascot, under consideration.

"To ease speculation on her future beyond 2017, I look forward to the autumn and a possible trip overseas but at this stage no decision on this will be made until after the George Ryder Stakes [Saturday, March 24]," said Waller in the statement.

"Providing she is well, she will run during The Championships in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes [Saturday, April 8] and look to target a race during the Royal Ascot carnival or be freshened up subsequent to the George Ryder Stakes and be targeted towards a European campaign containing three races over a range of distances."

Expanding on those comments at a subsequent press conference, Waller said: "The world is interested in this horse and they're in awe of her performances.

"I don't think we have to go but I think the world's saying, 'Listen, can you come over – we'd really appreciate you to come.'

"If we were to go, we wouldn't go for one particular race, we'd probably give her a campaign. We'll take her through a range of distances."

Waller has identified the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington on October 7 as a stepping stone to the Cox Plate on October 28 and a run in the former would mark Winx's first outing at the home of the Melbourne Cup.

The decision to head to Victoria will come as a blow to officials in New South Wales, although Waller stopped short of entirely ruling out a start in the Craven Plate at Randwick on October 14 instead.

"As has always been the case, I will continue to be guided by the horse and what I feel is best for her when planning her racing preparations," said Waller.

"I am very mindful of how well received she is each time she races, however her longevity is of the utmost importance and this is evident by the limited racing she does each preparation."

I look forward to the autumn and a possible trip overseas but at this stage no decision on this will be made until after the George Ryder Stakes

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