Winx offers a little drama just for show
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.