Winx makes it 20 in row

Sunday News - - RACING - AAP

HER trainer ad­mits it’s get­ting harder to watch but her jockey has ul­ti­mate faith in Winx who has stretched her win­ning se­quence to 20 with vic­tory in the Group One Ge­orge Main Stakes at Rand­wick.

As she has in her three starts this cam­paign, the cham­pion has given away a big start with Chris Waller’s nerves un­der­go­ing a work-out while Hugh Bow­man has con­cen­trated on keep­ing her com­fort­able.

But with the mare al­most 10 lengths adrift of the leader Red Ex­cite­ment at the 600m, Waller won­dered if Saturday was the day it would end.

Cool as ever, Bow­man tracked Happy Clap­per into the straight, gave Winx a tap on the hind quar­ters and she switched gears to make it look easy at the end of the 1600 me­tres.

‘‘She is a hard horse to watch,’’ Waller said. ‘‘The good tracks mean the tempo is dif­fer­ent.

‘‘And we should re­spect Happy Clap­per. She beat a very good horse in his own right and we had to fight to get past him.

‘‘It is good to see her top that rise and see her get a bit closer be­cause that was the only stage she looked like win­ning.’’

In­stead of im­me­di­ately tak­ing Winx through the gate to the win­ner’s stall, Bow­man can­tered her down to the pub­lic stand in front of her le­gions of fans.

The jockey is as much a part of the Winx story as any­one else and the two have de­vel­oped a bond, even though he ad­mit­ted he ex­pected to be a lit­tle closer on Saturday.

‘‘I ex­pected to be closer to the speed. The pace was strong and at the top of the straight she had a lot of ground to make up.

‘‘But af­ter her last two per­for­mances I knew she could do it. I amjust so proud of her.’’

As she has in the past, Winx played up a lit­tle in the bar­rier, some­thing Bow­man said was just part and par­cel of her na­ture.

‘‘She just gets a bit anx­ious,’’ he said. ‘‘She wants to get on with it.

‘‘She jumped OK but was slow into stride, but I was fol­low­ing the right horses in Happy Clap­per and Fox­play.

‘‘She is amaz­ing and it’s great to be a part of her.

‘‘Grow­ing up on the farm in Dune­doo, dream­ing of be­ing a jockey, dream­ing of rid­ing a cham­pion and those dreams are be­ing met in the form of Winx.’’

Winx’s 20th con­sec­u­tive vic­tory puts her one-up on an­other daugh­ter of Street Cry, Amer­i­can mare Zeny­atta.

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