In­vin­ci­ble Winx best in world

The Sunday Times - - RACING - LEO SCHLINK

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 — 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 over-rid­ing 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 $13.7mil­lion, an un­ex­tended Winx thumped her six ri­vals, pre­vail­ing by 6-1⁄2lengths over Ven­tura Storm and the way­ward Hu­mi­dor.

“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 on Oc­to­ber 28, re­veal­ing he still be­lieves her best is yet to come.

“Yeah, she’s a bril­liant horse and what­ever you ask her to do, she does,” he said.

“It’s as sim­ple as that, 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 the chill­ing au­thor­ity of Winx’s re­sound­ing vic­tory as the 20,822 spec­ta­tors at Flem­ing­ton.

TAB 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 short­est­priced favourite to start in the race.

Hit­ting a peak speed of 65.6kmh — 1.3kmh quicker than next-fastest Hu­mi­dor — Winx ran her fi­nal 1000m in 57.51secs and her clos­ing 400m in 22.91.

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.

She’s ap­ples: Hugh Bow­man makes his trade­mark ges­ture as he re­turns to scale af­ter rid­ing Winx to an ef­fort­less vic­tory in the Turn­bull Stakes at Flem­ing­ton yes­ter­day. Pic­ture: Gra­ham Denholm/Getty Im­ages

Strong fin­ish: Luke Cur­rie takes Bring Me Roses, left, down the out­side to win yes­ter­day’s Ed­ward Man­i­fold Stakes. Pic­ture: Getty

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