Champion mare Winx looked as sharp as ever in a Randwick hit-out ahead of her autumn campaign.
Winx has done what Winx does best even though there was no prize money or status involved.
The champion came to Randwick on Saturday for a simulated race, taking the place of a start in the Apollo Stakes.
Connections opted not to run her in the Group Two race because her jockey Hugh Bowman was unavailable through suspension.
But Bowman was on her back to give her a test against five of her Chris Waller-trained stablemates ahead of the Group One Chipping Norton Stakes in two weeks.
She did, of course, win but it was an important hit-out for both the mare and her jockey under race conditions.
With Mackintosh leading, Bowman stoked Winx up at the 500m and she stretched out in the straight to go past him and win by 3-3/4 lengths.
“I felt that engine burn,” Bowman said.
“It’s not the same as a barrier trial. I don’t get that feeling in her trials so it was great for her to exercise those competitive juices again.”
Most importantly from Bowman’s point of view, Winx’s barrier manners have improved from the spring and in two trials and Saturday’s “race” she has jumped cleanly.
“The only time I am nervous with her is in the barriers but she has been quiet and calm,” he said.
Waller said she would have two more serious gallops before the Chipping Norton to make sure she was kept up to the mark.
‘It’s all about the recovery,” he said.
“We need to make sure she eats up tonight and keep her ticking over until race day.
“She is a horse who normally does recover well so we’re happy.”
As a measure of how well she went, Winx recorded 1:10.30 for her 1200m gallop while the sprinters in the Group Three Southern Cross Stakes ran 1:10.53.