Could Winx deliver another milestone?

Winx delivered Chris Waller his 100th Group 1 win with a stunning Queen Elizabeth Stakes farewell, so there would be a certain synergy if the race named after his freakish mare is the scene of his 150th.

Waller will have weight of numbers on his side in his bid to reach the rare mark on Saturday, and edge closer to the tallies of the only three trainers in Australian racing history to have prepared more Group 1 winners – Bart Cummings and T J Smith with 246, and Gai Waterhouse with 154.

Waller’s Winx Stakes (1400m) army will be led by last year’s runner-up Fangirl, US import Princess Grace and untapped four-year-olds Osipenko and Lindermann, while Hinged, Francesco Guardi, Going Global and Montefilia provide a high-class support crew.

But whether or not Waller celebrates the milestone this weekend, his passion to keep winning Group 1 races burns as brightly as ever.

“Yes, they’re what drive you,” Waller said.

“The last few weeks I’ve been anxious, going through all the little systems around the stables, making sure everything is happening properly and driving all the staff mad.”

That nervous energy is a reflection of the fact that Waller is heading into this spring more excited than he has been for some time.

Not only does he have the high-class Winx Stakes team and established stars the ilk of Nature Strip, but also a host of young, emerging horses like juvenile triple crown winners Shinzo and Militarize, Saturday’s runners Lazzago, Zougotcha and Extremely Lucky, last week’s impressive victor Olentia and Queensland Derby winner Kovalica, all who seem yet to reach their ceilings.

“I can feel it this spring more than the last couple of springs,” Waller said.

“It’s the depth, which we haven’t had the last couple of years.

“You’re thinking about colts, you’re thinking about two-year-olds that might take that next step, you’re talking about a nice group of three-year-olds that are turning into weight-for-age horses. There is just a bit more depth there.”

Fangirl ($4.40) is regarded as his leading chance in the Winx Stakes at Randwick, but if the track stays wet, stablemates Princess Grace and Hinged could give the race a shake, especially from their respective low draws in barriers one and five.

Waller is also predicting a bold first-up run from stayer Francesco Guardi.

“He’s on a Melbourne Cup mission and it’s a starting point, but I reckon he’ll be the one we’re talking about after the race,” Waller said.

“Princess Grace, the barrier draw probably brings her right into it. She’s had the same preparation as Fangirl, she’s had the benefit of an Australian prep and she has come back really well.

“She handled a soft track in the Sapphire (Stakes) at Randwick and she might be a little sneaky from barrier one.”

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