Hartnell Trainer John O'Shea Has Given Up Hope of Winning Against Winx This Saturday

Written on the 24 February 2017

Although Winx trainer Chris Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman don't believe Winx is unbeatable, Hartnell trainer John O'Shea has all but thrown in the towel that Hartnell will take away a 15 consecutive win from Winx at the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick this Saturday.

After Winx drew barrier four on Wednesday, TAB opened with $1.10 on this champion mare, making it the shortest-priced favourite in a Sydney Group 1 race for more than 50 years.

Her closest rival Hartnell ($8) on the other hand drew the outside gate in the 10-horse field, with trainer John O'Shea admitting Hartnell can't topple Winx.

"No, I never thought we could, especially not at a mile," O'Shea said.

Winx left Hartnell in her wake after a spectacular victory at the Apollo Stakes. Chris O'Shea feels his best chance of ending Winx's winning streak is over 2000m with conditions to suit (wet track) at the April $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

"We might be able to get close to her. We've never met her on a day when I thought we could beat her," O'Shea said.

"If we got to 10 furlongs in the Queen Elizabath at Randwick on a day when the track was rain affected, I think we can give Winx a competitive race."

Trainer Chris Waller is happy with how everything has gone since Winx won the Apollo Stakes on February 13th.

"She had a quiet gallop Saturday and she had a stronger gallop Tuesday and pleased myself and Hugh (Bowman)," Waller said. "She pulled up well and she will have a very quiet gallop (Thursday) and it will be more pacework than a gallop."

"Condition-wise she looks picture perfect and you won't see any difference from her first-up run."

"We weigh them every Monday and she has actually put on 1kg since she last raced."

"Second-up over a mile should be spot on."

Waller said the peak of her all-conquering powers could yet come as she inches towards Black Caviar's record of 25 consecutive salutations.

"I guess it's like, can Usain Bolt run quicker than what he's doing at the moment?" Waller said. "Can he break more world records? You need so many conditions in your favour to do that."

"As long as she's maintaining her presence and being dominant, we're certainly very grateful and proud of that. I'm not sure how long it will last but like all sporting people and all horses, it has a life span. We're wary of that."

"With horse racing, you just never really know where the next superstar's coming from. Hartnell is a very good example of that. Prior to the Cox Plate, it was named as a match race and he did run second in the Cox Plate. So he does still deserve respect. It's always easy to go in as the underdog and maybe they're just trying to catch us off our guard."

(Photo: Winx winning the Apollo Stakes - Photo Credit: Mark Evans)


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