Winks makes city return at Caulfield

James Winks is keen to make an impression on smart South Australian sprinter Arinos in Saturday’s Sir John Monash Stakes at Caulfield.

The 26-year-old has been sidelined for 10 weeks with multiple injuries suffered in a spectacular race fall at Flemington on May 8.
Winks was riding The Fugitive which clipped heels and blundered badly near the 750m, throwing the jockey through the inside running rail.

He suffered lacerations to his spleen and liver, a punctured lung, cracked ribs and fractures to a thumb.

“It was pretty nasty but I was probably lucky that the plastic running rail was in place,” Winks said.

A plastic upright gave way when he hit it but the damage could have been a lot worse had the old steel uprights and aluminium running rail still been there.

“The worst part of the recovery was that I wasn’t allowed to do anything for a month and I lost a lot of my fitness,” Winks said.

“But I’ve worked pretty hard on it the last three weeks. I spent a week at a health farm on the Gold Coast and did some high-intensity training with a personal trainer.

“I lost 3kg there and I’ll ride at 56kg on Saturday and get down to my normal riding weight of 53kg during the (spring) carnival.

“I wanted to come back before the spring to get my eye in and get my fitness rock hard so there’s no doubt in anybody’s mind.”

Winks returns to race riding on the Geelong synthetic track on Friday with three mounts for the David Hayes stable and has two rides at Caulfield on Saturday and four at Seymour on Sunday for trainers Peter Snowden, Danny O’Brien (two) and Mark Kavanagh.

He rides first starter Valedictorian in Saturday’s Inglis Bonus Hcp (1000m) for two-year-olds and the David Jolly-trained Arinos in the Listed weight-for-age Monash (1100m).

“He can put my name back in lights. He’s a very good horse and I’m looking forward to riding him again,” Winks said of Arinos who is a Listed 1100m winner at Flemington.

“He’s probably better suited in handicaps but he was only narrowly beaten by Starspangledbanner in the Oakleigh Plate and if he ran up to that you’d think he’d probably give them a spanking.

“Peter Moody’s colt (2009 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Reward For Effort) is probably the horse to beat but he’s coming off a long layoff.”

Winks has ridden Arinos at his past two starts for a dead-heat short head second with Here De Angels in the Oakleigh Plate (1100m) to Starspangledbanner at Caulfield in February and eighth to Wanted in the Newmarket Hcp (1200m) at Flemington in early March.

Winks said he had ridden Lonhro colt Valedictorian in trackwork.

“He’s a very nice horse but like most first starters he’ll be better for the run,” he said.

The colt was due to make his race debut at Flemington on June 26 but was scratched after he reared up and became cast in the barrier.