By Glenn Davis
A beefed-up Queensland Oaks winner Winning Ways will make her return ahead of a possible interstate spring campaign at Doomben on Saturday.
Winning Ways will be on trial for a trip to Sydney and possibly Melbourne when she has her first start since claiming the Group 1 Queensland Oaks at Doomben in June in the Open Handicap (1350m).
The now four-year-old incurred an automatic three month ban when she had a slight bleed after her Queensland Oaks triumph.
The daughter of Declaration Of War was raced by Paul Makin, a long-time client of Winning Ways’ trainer Garry Newham.
Makin died the week of the Queensland Oaks and Winning Ways is now raced by his family.
“You wouldn’t know she bled after the Oaks as it was only a tiny trickle on your finger and she easily passed a gallop in front of stewards last week,” Newham said.
Winning Ways is among a strong list of contenders for Queensland’s Horse Of The Year honours.
Newham hasn’t given Winning Ways a barrier trial ahead of her comeback and has pencilled in two local runs before heading to Sydney for the spring.
“Barrier trials are no use to her and I’m a great believer in giving horses long pace work and leaving the rest for race day,” Newham said.
“She’s come back after her spell in great order and she’s 90 per cent fit. She weighed 428kgs when she won the Oaks and she’s now 520kgs.
“She was very weak last preparation but she’s strengthened up a lot after her spell and her track rider says she’s got a lot more power.”
Newham, who put the early polish on Makin’s former international champion Starcraft, nominated Winning Ways for the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate in Melbourne during the spring.
“She was nominated early for the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate but I decided not to pay up for the first acceptances yesterday for the Cox Plate,” Newham said.
“The Cox Plate has come around too quick for her and she’ll go to Sydney first before we think about the Caulfield Cup.
“She’ll have another run here in an 1800 metre race at Eagle Farm in two weeks then go down for The Metropolitan in Sydney.
“But she’ll have to run well in both her races here to warrant going away.”
The Group 1 The Metropolitan Handicap (2400m) will be run at Randwick on October 5.
Winning Ways has won seven of her 13 starts including four of her five starts during the Brisbane winter carnival.
Matt McGillivray was her regular rider in the winter but has been replaced by Ryan Maloney for her first up assignment.
Racing Queensland webnews September 11