The big question for connections of Winx is looming large
Following Saturday's George Main Stakes the spring is yet to be locked down for Winx so the question looming large is, where to next for the champion mare after she more than likely makes it 20-straight.
Only the Group I Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and Group III Craven Plate (2000m) have so far been mooted as a potential stepping stone for Winx's historic Cox Plate treble but is there another suitable lead-up race sitting quietly on the agenda?
Winx is poised for back-to-back Group I George Main Stakes wins this Saturday but the subsequent weeks, before the Group I Cox Plate (2040m) on October 28 remain up in the air for the champion mare.
If connections opt for either the $1 million Caulfield Stakes or $500,000 Craven Plate, both scheduled for October 14, Winx would be tasked with rising from 1600m to 2000m with four weeks between runs – something she has never done before.
Winx probably has the champion qualities to overcome this but the scenario is hardly ideal.
One race that is arguably a better fit is the $500,000 Group I Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 7 – three weeks after the George Main Stakes and three weeks before the Cox Plate.
The 21-day gap into 2000m has been utilised in three of Winx's last four wins at the distance – the 2015 Cox Plate, 2016 Caulfield Stakes, and 2017 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
A possible reason why the Turnbull Stakes has not been publicly mentioned is because Winx hasn't raced outside of weight-for-age since April 2016. Under the set weights and penalties conditions of the Turnbull Stakes, Winx would surprisingly only carry 57kg – the maximum a horse of her age and sex can carry.
Following Saturday's George Main Stakes the spring will no doubt take more shape but if you had your choice, where would you run the great mare next?