MIGHTY MARE FLIES TO HER 20TH WIN
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
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