Australian Racing

Winx

Melbourne Cup Australian Racing
Sunday February 12th 2017 - 17:41

Winx is currently the best thoroughbred in Australia and the best horse on turf in the world, thanks to a 13-win winning streak and back-to-back Cox Plates. The five-year-old superstar started her winning streak in May 2015 when winning the Sunshine Coast Guineas with a storming finish down the outside, and she hasn’t looked back since.

Trained by Chris Waller, the daughter of Street Cry won her first Group 1 in the Queensland Oaks by 3.5 lengths, but the real task was yet to come with racing in Sydney and Melbourne on the agenda. The $230,000 purchase from the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale was sent for a four-month spell following her Queensland Oaks win and many expected her to need time to hit top gear, but with James McDonald in the saddle, Winx was able to score a narrow win in the Group 2 Theo Marks Stakes at Rosehill.

Waller decided the mare was ready to face more Group 1 opposition and she started as the 2/1 favourite for the Epsom Handicap at Randwick. The 150th running of the great handicap race resulted in one of the most impressive wins, which came by 2.3 lengths. It was clear that Winx had arrived in the big time of Australia racing and the Cox Plate was now firmly on the agenda.

Winx went straight into the first of her two Cox Plate attempts as a 7/2 shot and some punters took full advantage of that price for a horse on a four-race winning streak. At the end of the day, the 2015 Cox Plate result was never in doubt as jockey Hugh Bowman steered the champion mare along the rails to score the easiest of Cox Plate victories. Her 4.8-length win of one of the world’s toughest weight-for-age races was simply outstanding and it rivaled the likes of Northerly and Sunline’s efforts from years earlier.

Winx scored a deserved break following her Cox Plate comp and she resumed in the Apollo Stakes at Randwick in February. This time she started a much shorter 4/7 favourite and she was barely touched during the run to record a one-length victory. Waller was planning her preparation to ultimately target The Championships – which was a relatively new idea by Racing New South Wales which encompassed many of Sydney’s biggest group one races.

The target for Winx was the Group 1 Doncaster Mile, but first she would take back-to-back features which were used mainly as warm up races. Two 1.5-length victories in the Chipping Norton Stakes and George Ryder Stakes held Winx in good stead for the Doncaster Handicap where she would start as the 4/5 favourite. Once again, the money was snapped up and it never looked in doubt as the wonder mare scored by two lengths against the quality field.

Chris Waller decided to spell Winx and plan for another tilt at the Cox Plate. Waller mapped out three runs before taking on the Moonee Valley feature and with three easy wins under her belt, Winx headed to The Valley with a full head of steam. Unlike the previous season, bookmakers were giving Winx more respect, but she still started longer than many punters would have expected. Winx started as the 4/5 favourite, which was the bookmakers respecting the level of opposition which included former European runner Hartnell.

In sloppy conditions at Moonee Valley, Winx put on a galloping masterclass and set a new race margin record of eight lengths. The display left the thousands of fans on track in awe and it firmly put Winx on the world stage. Winx hasn’t run since the 2016 Cox Plate romp, but plans are to resume in the Apollo Stakes on February 13th before working towards an autumn target.

Waller has come under some criticism for not showing Winx off to the world, but he believes some of the best middle distance racing is held in Australia and that trying conditions overseas might not be worth the risk. Waller has stated that Winx won’t travel in 2017, but is open to the idea of the champion mare racing in Europe in 2018. That would certainly generate plenty of interest and a win could secure Winx even more fans worldwide.

Throughout her career, Winx has secured many titles which includes the 2015/2016 Australian Horse of the Year, Australian Champion Middle Distance Horse and a Timeform rating of 128. Winx is odds-on to win another Horse of the Year title this season.

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