The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SUNDAY SPORT -

FOR 800m a mark few Winx strides looked toat the be in trou­ble yes­ter­day.

Jockey Hugh Bown­man was urg­ing her along and the mare seemed to be strug­gling to stay in touch. But the mo ment passed as quick Winx ac­cel­er­ated.

Sud­denly she was sukly us The champion urg­ing. switched into over­drive and swept home in the Group 1. $500,000 Ge­orge Wick Stakes at Royal Randw

And ev­ery­one watch­ing around the na­tion, those on course, in pubs and clubs, in lounge rooms, breathed a col lec­tive sigh of re­lief.

The win­ning streak con­tin­ues — it was her 20th con sec­u­tive vic­tory.

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 and wait­ing for that win­ning post to come into sight.

Be­cause when the race is there to be won, that’s when Winx is at her supreme's best

A re­laxed trainer Chris Waller wanted to en­joy the mo­ment rather than over an­a­lyse the win.

“I’m not too wor­ried how she was trav­el­ling in the race, let’s just thank Winx for who she is — true cham­pi­ons nor­mally come out and win,'' Waller said. “It’s great syd ney have em­braced her.''

And Winx win did — asily on the line. The great

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

Bow­man even stopped rid­ing her 50m out as the mare cruised clear. But he did ad­mit to some tense mo­ments mid-race.

“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.’’

Bow­man con­ceded Winx may not be as com­fort­able on the firmer tracks but pointed out she again ran bril­liant time — 1600m in a race record 1min 33.65sed. Winx broke a few records as well.

Her 20th suc­ces­sive win took her past Desert Gold, Gloam­ing and Amer­i­can mare Zeny­atta (all 19). Only un­de­feated Black Caviar with 25 wins has won more races in suc­ces­sion;

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’s record and trails only Black Caviar (15) and Kingston Town (14) for most ma­jors; and

Her prize­money in­creased to $13.47 mil­lion, trail­ing only Makybe Diva who won $14.52.

Waller in­di­cated Winx was likely to have one more start in Syd­ney this spring, in the Craven Plate (2000) at Rand­wick on Oc­to­ber 14.

“I’d say she will have one more run up here then at some stage she will head to Mel­bourne,’’ Waller said.

“We will lock it in next week and let ev­ery­body know what we are do­ing. The horse comes first. She will tell me.’’

Waller said he be­lieved Winx was “spot on” for her at­tempt to equal Kingston Town’s record of three suc­ces­sive Cox Plates.

“She is ready for it,’’ he said. “Her first Cox Plate she won it off three runs. Next Cox Plate she won it off four. She will prob­a­bly run in it off a fifth run. It’s our job to pro­tect her and the pub­lic con­tinue to en­joy.”

Bow­man then summed up the mood at Rand­wick.

“It all means a great deal, my kids are quite young so they are not quite aware of the enor­mity of the sit­u­a­tion, but in years to come they will cer­tainly come to un­der­stand what Winx has done for our lives,’’ he said. “Grow­ing up on the farm in Dun- edoo, dream­ing of be­ing a jockey, dream­ing of rid­ing a champion and those dreams are be­ing met in the form of Winx and, like I said, I am so proud and hon­oured.”

To cap a big day, Winx’s dam Ve­gas Show­girl last night foaled a filly by Ex­ceed And Ex­cel. Mum and “lit­tle sis” were re­port­edly


Jockey Hugh Bow­man punches the air af­ter re­turn­ing to scale aboard won­der mare Winx at Royal Rand­wick ck. Pic­ture: Tim Hunter

Winx trails be­hind with 300m to go (above) and (right) Bow­man hugs part-owner Deb­bie Kepi­tis af­ter the mare won. Pic­tures: Si­mon Bullard, AAP

Feb 13, 2016, $ 1.60 Feb 27, 2016, $ 1.35 Mar 19, 2016, $ 1.90 Apr 2, 2016, $ 1.80 Aug 20, 2016, $ 1.24 Apollo Stakes Chip­ping Nor­ton Stakes Ge­orge Ry­der Stakes Don­caster Mile War­wick Stakes

Ge­orge Ry­der Stakes Mar 18, 2017, $ 1.26 Queen El­iz­a­beth Stakes Apr 8, 2017, $ 1.12 War­wick Stakes Aug 19, 2017, $ 1.10 Chelms­ford Stakes Sept 2, 2017, $ 1.09 Ge­orge Main Stakes Sept 16, 2017, $ 1.12

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