Winx has final gallop before return

SYDNEY Aug 16 2016

The most talked about horse in the country is a step closer to her return with her trainer and jockey giving Winx the tick of approval.

Race jockey Hugh Bowman put the champion mare through her paces in a course proper gallop at Rosehill on Tuesday morning ahead of her Warwick Stakes assignment.

Winx is likely to have a maximum of six opponents in the 1400m-Group Two race at Randwick on Saturday, half from her own back yard.

Her trainer Chris Waller has earmarked the race for the return of Cups hopefuls Grand Marshal and Who Shot Thebarman along with Spring Champion Stakes winner Vanbrugh.

Trainer David Hayes has already decided Dibayani will not take his place with Rebel Dane, Lucia Valentina and Hartnell the others likely to try to upset the odds-on favourite.

"Winx worked well this morning and Hugh was very happy with her," Waller said.

"She is ready to go and I'm happy with the others too."

Kerrin McEvoy will be aboard Lucia Valentina, the second favourite, who was also entered for the Show County Quality (1200m).

Lucia Valentina won Sydney's richest race, the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes, a week after Winx won the Doncaster Mile.

Trainer Kris Lees also entered Lucia Valentina for the Show County Quality (1200m) as insurance against running over 1400 metres on a heavy track.

But he said she would race over the longer distance with stablemate, Randwick Guineas winner Le Romain, to tackle the Show County.

Rebel Dane's trainer Gary Portelli had hoped by getting the seven-year-old up and running early he might be able to steal a march on some of those horses returning.

Things didn't quite go to plan with Rebel Dane second in the Missile Stakes on the heaviest Randwick track most can remember.

"It's not ideal taking on Winx," Portelli said.

"But I'm happy with how he has come back this time. He is bigger and stronger and has held his weight since his first start."

Caryl williamson - AAP

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