Winx gives Hugh Bowman confidence

As a jockey Hugh Bowman copes with pressure on a daily basis but he admits to an added responsibility when it comes to riding Winx.

The champion mare runs in her first Group One race of the new season in Saturday’s George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.

Just six horses were entered on Monday to run against Winx including two of her Chris Waller-trained stablemates, Spiritjim and Vanbrugh and former Japanese horse Tosen Stardom.

“To get a headline act and to be a part of it, it comes with a great deal of responsibility,” Bowman said.

“But I have so much confidence in her.

“She is easy to ride. She puts herself where she needs to be.”

The George Main will be Winx’s last spring appearance in Sydney after which she heads to Melbourne for the Caulfield Stakes and her defence of the Cox Plate.

Although Bowman and Waller have had many Group One wins separately and together, the Cox Plate was the first of the established big four for jockey or trainer.

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“The Cox Plate is the best race in Australia,” Bowman said.

“The Golden Slipper is for two-year-olds and the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups are handicaps.

“But the Cox Plate is weight-for-age over 2000 metres. It was humbling to win it last year and I’m as excited as anyone leading into it this year.”

Hauraki and It’s Somewhat will represent Godolphin in the George Main while the Kris Lees-trained Randwick Guineas winner Le Romain is other nomination.

Lees has also entered Le Romain in the Bill Ritchie Hcp (1400m) and will wait until later in the week to decide which races he runs in.

Winx missed a scheduled start in the Chelmsford Stakes last Saturday week and had a hit-out in a barrier trial on Friday.

“I’m glad we gave her the trial,” Waller said.

“It’s just like a pre-match training session and she is right where she needs to be.”

Indicative of her superstar status, Winx is at $1.15 in opening markets with Tosen Stardom next at $10.

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