HAPPY 21ST, WINX
NOW, BRING ON THE COX PLATE
THE reprise is complete.
After an incident-marred Sydney campaign, Winx’s return to invincibility was sealed with a spine-tingling Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) win at Flemington yesterday – leaving trainer Chris Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman searching for superlatives.
Trembling with emotion after the wonder mare’s 21st successive victory, Waller said Winx’s health and reputation remained overriding factors as she bids for a record-equalling third successive Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 28.
“We don’t want her to disappoint,” Waller said after Winx posted her 25th triumph from 31 starts, underpinning her standing as the world’s best turf galloper.
“There’s always so much support. There’s always one per cent of doubters, but we proved them wrong today.
“She needs to be at her best to go to every race. She’s got a big reputation and she won’t retire with multiple unplaced runs next to her name.
“One race at a time and while she keeps winning, she keeps the dream alive.
“Obviously we’re keen to get her overseas to represent Australia, or this part of the world, so we’ll see what happens.”
Boosting her prizemoney to $13.7 million, an unextended Winx thumped her six rivals, prevailing by 6½ lengths over Ventura Storm and wayward Humidor.
“(It’s) pretty special,” Bowman said. “No surprise, believe it or not.
“She was back to herself today. She was very unenthusiastic last start, for some reason or other.
“Maybe she just had a bit of a day where she just didn’t want to do it, but she still did it in style.
“She’s certainly back to where we know she is.”
Waller said Winx would now have an easy time ahead of her date with Cox Plate destiny, revealing he still believes her best is yet to come.
“She’s a brilliant horse and whatever you ask her to do, she does,” he said. “She makes us all look good. “There’s no training manual for a horse like Winx. She makes me feel pretty special.
“What a great horse. She’s very special. It’s great that the public can embrace her. All of her wins have been so special.
“Look wherever she goes, whether it’s the Sunshine Coast, whether it’s Rosehill, Doomben, Randwick, Moonee Valley, Flemington, Caulfield, she just does a great job.
“When she gets wound up and lets go, it’s pretty sizzling.”
Bookmakers were as clearly taken with Winx’s resounding victory as the 20,822 spectators at Flemington.
UBET trimmed Winx from $1.40 to $1.25 for the Cox Plate, triggering conjecture she could challenge Phar Lap’s 1931 record ($1.07) as the shortest- price favourite to start in the race.
Hitting a peak speed of 65.6km/h, 1.3km/h quicker than next-fastest Humidor, Winx ran her final 1000m in 57.51sec and her closing 400m in 22.91sec.
Regan Bayliss, who partnered runner-up Ventura Storm, was gobsmacked by Winx’s superiority.
“He (Ventura Storm) was terrific. She’s just the best horse in the world,” he said.
“I’ve never seen a horse put so many lengths on me in a short amount of space without any pressure.”
There’s no training manual for a horse like Winx. She makes me feel pretty special CHRIS WALLER
SPINE-TINGLING: Winx wins at Flemington and (right) jockey Hugh Bowman hugs part-owner Debbie Kepitis after the triumph. Pictures: Alex Coppel, Getty Images