Chris Waller and Hugh Bowman’s 10-year association sealed with a Winx

13/04/2019 Posted by admin

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Chris Waller, Hugh Bowman and Winx. It is a combination that is becoming as familiar to n sports fans as Newcombe and Roche, Lillee and Marsh or Lewis and Langer.

As the superstar mare heads to her 15th successive win and her 10th group 1 in Saturday’s Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick, the latest dominant combination of the turf can look back at the milestones she has given them.

Before Winx arrived, Waller and Bowman were outstanding in their fields but lacked a “major” to join the elite. Winx gave them that with her first Cox Plate, and the Apollo Stakes win to start this preparation chalked up 250 wins for trainer and jockey together.

“I didn’t think I would do that with a jockey in ,” Waller said. “It is something pretty special I guess.”

While Winx has taken the pair to another level in the past couple of years, it is an association that started when Waller came to Sydney.

“I always hoped I would be the main rider for a leading stable at some stage,” Bowman said. “I did it for Gai Waterhouse in my 20s and I thought that was going to be my stairway to heaven but that didn’t work out.

“Chris and myself have sort of evolved together. We had a lot of success prior [to Winx]. The relationship is more than 10 years now and we have had our differences at different stages.

“But I think ultimately we have a similar vision and the best interests of the horses at heart. That’s why it works.”

There is admiration between the two and a respect and confidence that comes from being the masters of their trade.

“I can put Hughie on a horse and have the upmost faith in his horsemanship, his will to win and his feedback post-race. And then we are capable of [having a] beer after the races,” Waller said.

“He is the last link in the chain that starts at 4am every morning and to have the upmost confidence in him is something I can’t quantify.”

Bowman and Waller are not yet at the stage of their career where they will look back. “We are still thinking forward, that is just the way it is,” Bowman said, but the Cox Plates have been landmarks in their careers.

“That was very satisfying, I felt I was missing that major win and to get it will be something I will alway remember,” Bowman said.

But to have a champion such as Winx is a completely different experience.

“It is like winning a Melbourne Cup, you want it but by working harder you aren’t going to get it. It is luck of the draw,” Bowman said. “I’m very grateful for Winx. It has been very fulfilling for me as a person and rider to be involved with a horse like her.”

Winx is a $1.10 favourite to take a second Chipping Norton Stakes on Saturday and Waller and Bowman can find no chink in her armour.

“I think she has certainly come on from her first-up win [in the Apollo],” Bowman said. “She is certainly stronger in her work. She is a bit more relaxed in her demeanour. That suggests to me she is where she needs to be at this stage of her preparation.

“I was quite vocal in my thoughts that she was quite away from where she was leading into the Cox Plate [ahead of her first-up run] but I feel like she has really progressed since the Apollo Stakes.”

Waller has been happy with the progress in the 10 days since the Apollo Stakes as she steps out to the mile.

“Physically I couldn’t be happier with her. She has maintained her weight and she has the benefit of that race and race pressure,” Waller said. “She has probably muscled up and strengthened up a little bit more.

“I’m talking small quantities but at least she’s gradually heading forward and certainly maintaining her brilliance.”

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