Winx of­fers a lit­tle drama just for show

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - RAY THOMAS

FOR just a few strides Winx looked to be in trou­ble. Hugh Bow­man was urg­ing her along and the mare seemed to be strug­gling to stay in touch.

But the mo­ment passed as quickly as Winx ac­cel­er­ated. Sud­denly she was surg­ing. The cham­pion mare switched into over­drive and swept home in the Group 1 $500,000 Ge­orge Main Stakes at Royal Rand­wick yes­ter­day.

And ev­ery­one watch­ing around the na­tion, those on course, in pubs and clubs, in lounge rooms, breathed a col­lec­tive sigh of re­lief. The win­ning streak con­tin­ues – this was her 20th. Maybe Winx is toy­ing with our minds like she is toy­ing with her op­po­si­tion.

Maybe she is wait­ing for the fi­nal 400m, wait­ing for the urg­ings of the Rand­wick crowd to reach a crescendo, for that win­ning post to come into sight.

Trainer Chris Waller wanted to en­joy the mo­ment rather than over-an­a­lyse the win.

“I’m not too wor­ried about how she was trav­el­ling – true cham­pi­ons nor­mally come out and win,’’ Waller said.

The great mare, sent out $1.12 favourite, was slow away, set­tled back in the field, was stand­ing the lead­ers 10 lengths at the 600m yet she ac­cel­er­ated so quickly from the top of the straight she sprinted past Happy Clap­per ($15) to win by 1¼ lengths with nearly five lengths to Fox­play ($21).

Jockey Hugh Bow­man even stopped rid­ing her 50m out as the mare cruised clear.

“I wasn’t wor­ried but she didn’t travel into the race like we are ac­cus­tomed to, which sur­prised me,’’ Bow­man said.

“But once she got a sense of where she was and what she needed to do, she just cuts in and ac­cel­er­ates – it is like she is on au­topi­lot.

“She picked up Happy Clap­per in about two strides.’’

Winx broke a few records as well, in­clud­ing:

Her 20th suc­ces­sive win takes her past the 19 straight by Desert Gold, Gloam­ing and Amer­i­can mare Zeny­atta. Only un­de­feated Black Caviar with 25 wins has won more.

She be­came the first mare to win suc­ces­sive Ge­orge Main Stakes, and the first to achieve the feat since the leg­endary Kingston Town (1981-82).

Winx scored the 13th Group 1 win of her ca­reer, equalling Sun­line and trail­ing only Black Caviar (15) and Kingston Town (14).

Her prize­money in­creased to $13.47 mil­lion, be­hind only Makybe Diva’s $14.52 mil­lion.

Waller in­di­cated Winx was likely to have one more spring start in Syd­ney, the $500,000 Craven Plate (2000m) at Rand­wick on Ever­est Day, Oc­to­ber 14.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.