Waller eyes 2018 Royal Ascot tilt with superstar Winx

Hugh Bowman riding Winx

Winx: the world’s highest-rated turf performer in 2016

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

 By STUART RILEY & Mark Scully 4:00PM 24 JAN 2017 

AUSTRALIAN superstar Winx may yet strut her stuff in Europe with trainer Chris Waller revealing he is eyeing an international campaign in 2018.

Winx was on Tuesday confirmed as the world’s highest-rated turf performer courtesy of her historic eight-length demolition of Hartnell in the William Hill Cox Plate in October.

There had been hopes among Royal Ascot officials that her owners could be tempted by a trip to Britain in 2017 but those aspirations were dashed after Waller confirmed a shot at a third straight Cox Plate was the top priority this year.

However, European racegoers may yet get the chance to see the daughter of Street Cry in the flesh with Waller on Tuesday confirming Royal Ascot remains a long-term goal.

“I’d love to come back to Royal Ascot, I’m just looking for one good enough,” said the trainer, who went close to notching a win at the meeting in 2015 when Brazen Beau was narrowly denied by the Wesley Ward-trained Undrafted in the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes.

He added: “Winx won’t come over this year, everything is revolving around trying to win a third Cox Plate. She’ll have a few runs but that’s the main goal.

“Once that’s out the way Royal Ascot’s definitely on our radar and we could even give her a European campaign to make bringing her over worthwhile.”

‘Softer ground is not a problem’

While the Cox Plate is contested over ten furlongs, Waller suggested a mile could be Winx’s best trip in Europe, a distance she has scored at in Group 1 company at home.

“The racing is different here to Australia and I think we’d bring her back in trip in Europe to a mile. That’s what we’re looking at for next year and softer ground is not a problem for her.

“There’s a good program of races in Europe at a mile all through the summer and it would be exciting to run in a few.”

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