Winx: 25 not out


VET­ERAN trainer Ger­ald Ryan said it three weeks ago after the Ge­orge Ry­der Stakes.

‘‘She’s only just start­ing to know how good she is,’’ the vet­eran Rose­hill trainer said as the cham­pion six-year-old Winx re­turned with her 24th con­sec­u­tive win in the back pocket.

Do horses re­ally know how good they are?

It seems fan­ci­ful to the out­sider, but horse peo­ple know they do. They see horse­flesh in a dif­fer­ent way to the rest of us. They see the way the horse walks into the mount­ing yard, gives a cur­sory glance at the crowd be­fore walk­ing onto the track like they own it.

As Winx strut­ted around be­fore the A$4 mil­lion Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000 me­tres) yes­ter­day, she barely no­ticed the thou­sands of peo­ple star­ing down at her.

Model Jesinta Camp­bell was only me­tres away but she was over­shad­owed by ex­pat-Kiwi trainer Chris Waller’s glam­our mare. ‘‘Winx, you’re a sick [ex­ple­tive]!’’ shouted one young rev­eller, be­fore tak­ing a swig out of a bot­tle of cham­pagne.

Then Winx showed us just how good/sick she is, whether she knows it or not.

She won the Queen Elizabeth with such im­pu­dent aplomb that it in­stantly dis­solved all these nag­ging thoughts that her time would soon be up.

After the race, jockey Hugh Bow­man stood on his own in the mid­dle of the straight.

‘‘She was all in her stride, she knew she was just here to win,’’ he said.

Does she know how good she is?

‘‘Yep,’’ he said. ‘‘Maybe she hasn’t found some­thing good enough to see just how good she can be.’’

The vic­tory equalled the un­beaten run of 25 of that other mighty mare, Black Caviar, who had her last race at this track al­most five years ago to the day.

In the week be­fore the TJ Smith that day, trainer Peter Moody had told me how the pres­sure of pre­par­ing a horse al­ways ex­pected to win was ‘‘killing me’’.

Moody was in the win­ner’s cir­cle yes­ter­day in his new job of Chan­nel Seven com­men­ta­tor. After Winx’s vic­tory, he walked over to Winx’s part-owner, Peter Tighe, and hugged him.

Only a hand­ful of peo­ple in rac­ing are for­tu­nate enough to know suc­cess like this.

Tighe is also part-owner of Un­for­got­ten, who won the Aus­tralian Oaks (2400m) in the race be­fore the Queen Elizabeth. The Oaks was the first of three group 1s for Waller, who also claimed the Syd­ney Cup (3200m) with nine-year-old Kiwi-owned Who Shot The­bar­man in the race after the Queen Elizabeth. That’s three Group Ones in a row. Some day out.

Great­ness can be judged which­ever way you want, but Winx has few boxes left to tick: She’s claimed 18 group 1s; she’s amassed al­most A$19 mil­lion in prize­money.

But what Winx hasn’t done, and won’t do this year, is win over­seas. It might never hap­pen but, hon­estly, who cares?

In­stead, she is now ex­pected to tar­get a fourth Cox Plate.

Rac­ing NSW boss Peter V’landys is des­per­ately try­ing to con­vince Waller to run her in the A$13 mil­lion The Ever­est on Oc­to­ber 13.

Bow­man is adamant Winx could win the 1200m race, even though it’s not her pet dis­tance.

The prob­lem for V’landys is tim­ing. Waller prefers to give Winx three weeks between races and the Cox Plate is a fort­night after The Ever­est. The Sun-Her­ald GETTY IM­AGES CLASSY Can­ter­bury-trained filly Renez­mae got her sopho­more sea­son back on track with an im­pres­sive win in the slush at Alexan­dra Park on Fri­day night.

The daugh­ter of The Pres out­toughed a field of older horses in the hands of catch-driver John Dunn to put her­self in good stead for two up­com­ing fea­ture races.

‘‘She went re­ally good, but I sort of al­ways knew she would be a good chance of win­ning the race,’’ said trainer Jack Har­ring­ton.

‘‘And she’ll im­prove with the run, which gives us a bit of con­fi­dence head­ing in to the next cou­ple of starts.’’

A likely re­turn bout with New Zealand Trot­ting Derby and Oaks win­ner Luby Lou is on the cards for Fri­day night’s $60,000 Sires’ Stakes Trot­ters Cham­pi­onship.

Har­ring­ton is ob­vi­ously full of re­spect for Luby Lou, and her sta­ble­mate Win­ter­fell, but takes a lot of heart from Dunn’s feed­back.

‘‘Johnny said she felt pretty good go­ing around that way [clock­wise], but he also gave us a few things to work on, too.’’ Renez­mae missed the Derby at Ad­ding­ton, but fin­ished down the track in the Oaks after be­ing worked over re­lent­lessly in front.

After the Sires’ Stakes and then the $100,000 North­ern Trot­ting Derby a week later, Har­ring­ton is con­sid­er­ing a re­turn across the Tas­man with last sea­son’s Aus­tralasian Breed­ers’ Crown cham­pion.

If not, there is the $30,000 North­ern Trot­ting Oaks in Auck­land on May 11 and the $125,000 3YO Jew­els Ruby at Cam­bridge on June 2.

‘‘We’ll just sort of see how she gets through the next two runs; there are op­tions in Aus­tralia be­fore the Jew­els for us to con­sider.

‘‘The New South Wales Oaks and Derby are both on in early May and there is the Vic­to­rian Oaks.’’

The Vic­to­rian Oaks, worth A$60,000, is on at Mel­ton on the same day as the Har­ness Jew­els.

When Renez­mae headed off Galleons Vic­tory in a close fin­ish, she also pre­vented the lat­ter’s train­ers, Bernie Hack­ett and Michelle Wal­lis, from train­ing a treble on the night.

They had early won trot­ting events with Jans­son and Mag­nafique, con­tin­u­ing their ex­cel­lent start to 2018, which has seen them win 19 races and just over three months.

Tony Her­lihy was an­other to train a dou­ble, with Re­volver and in-form Ital­ian De­light.

‘ She was all in her stride, she knew she was just here to win.’ RIDER HUGH BOW­MAN

Cham­pion mare Winx wins her 25th straight race as jockey Hugh Bow­man cel­e­brates yes­ter­day at Rand­wick.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.