Super mare Winx ensured her August 18 return to racing in the Winx Stakes will be her most anticipated race ever after she followed up her strong exhibition gallop last Saturday with a breathtaking trial at Rosehill on Tuesday.
"I would suggest that's as good as she's ever trialled," jockey Hugh Bowman told a press conference after the trial.
"I was very impressed with her," he said on Sky Racing. "I asked her to do a little bit more than I did in the first trial.
"She was more relaxed this morning than she was in her first trial and I think that was direct result of going to the races and having an exhibition gallop on Saturday.
"For me, it was a good step in the right direction. Some of that nervous energy has left her body and she's ready to go to the races now.
"She felt as good as she looked.
"I did ask her to use herself and the response I got was very encouraging."
Winx will break Black Caviar's record of 25 straight wins if she can win the race named after her at Randwick and few would doubt that would be the case after she cruised into third place over 1000 metres behind Queen Of The Turf winner Alizee and the Victoria Derby winner Ace High.
The one slight chink in Winx's remarkable armour is her barrier manners and again Bowman reported that she wasn't perfectly away again.
"She was a little bit bouncy in the stalls. I put her in a little earlier this morning because I just wanted to make sure she's standing there because if she draws in for her first run, she'll be one of the first ones in the gates.
"We went in last at her first trial but I wanted to put her in and make her stand for a little while, which she did well, but she just bobbed up as they opened.
"It's not what I wanted to happen on race day but it doesn't concern me because it is not out of character."
Trainer Chris Waller was delighted also: "Personally I couldn't be any happier with this morning's trial and she's bang on target for two weeks' time," Waller said.
Winx's stable mate D'Argento also looked to cruise to the post with the Rosehill Guineas winner nosing out the eight-year-old Hartnell, who looked as though he too had plenty to give on the line.
Chautauqua fails barrier test again
The path to the racetrack remains closed for Chautauqua, who moved a step closer to retirement at Rosehill on Tuesday after again failing to jump with the field from the barriers in an official trial.
Chautauqua had refused to jump from the barriers five times previously in trials and jump-outs in 2018, and while he again did not jump with the field on Tuesday morning, he was listed as taking part in the trial as his rider Tommy Berry did finally manage to encourage the horse to leave the gates - albeit many seconds after his rivals.
He is listed as finishing last in the trial, beaten 92.7 lengths.
The eight-year-old winner of $8.8million in stakes is under a racing ban because of his barrier antics and the latest failure to jump with the field might be the tipping point for connections as they strive to get the great grey to one more spring carnival.