The racing industry has copped some licks in the last month, but it was nothing but blue flags, blue silks and blue skies at Randwick on Saturday as the wonder mare won her 30th straight race.
It was the third time that Winx had won the Group Two The Star Apollo Stakes and her earnings have now shot past the $23 million mark. That’s a 100x return on her yearling sale price at the 2013 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale.
It’s easy to be confident after the race and, post-Apollo, it was almost a case of “what me, worry?”. However, there were some genuine concerns in the hours and minutes leading into the race.
First off, she’s a seven year old. That isn’t even middle age for a horse, but by racing standards, senior citizen status. Secondly, as it was her first run since winning a fourth Cox Plate back in October, she always appears most vulnerable when resuming. Lastly, the 1400m is not her ideal trip, but this time around she was never far off the lead and it was almost a fait accompli by the time they entered the straight. Too old? She broke the race record and was only a tick outside Trapeze Artist’s track record.
She certainly doesn’t look like a horse who is sick of racing … and it’s not likely we’ll ever get sick of her racing.
She remains horse racing’s greatest ambassador and long may she reign.
Not surprisingly, in the days prior and hours after, Winx dominated social media, but one tweet really stood out. Seven sports reporter, Michael Felgate referred to Chris Waller’s comments on Saturday morning radio where he had discussed with Winx’s owners the likelihood of providing stable staff with counselling when the mare eventually retires.
What about for the rest of us? Just as we didn’t want to let Black Caviar go, it might even be harder to wave goodbye to Winx. We at least know that Halley’s Comet appears every 75 years.
It looks at this stage that Winx will next line up in the Chipping Norton Stakes – chasing her 23rd Group One victory, which will be another record … albeit breaking her own.
If she follows the 2018 playbook, the Chipping Norton will be followed by the George Ryder – another Group One – before, perhaps, her final race in the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes on 13 April.
Hopefully a fitting end for racing’s queen.
In the 2019 Aushorse magazine, Andrew Rule – author of Winx’s authorised biography – profiles the legend in ‘The X Factor’ … http://ow.ly/VP8r50lDyEA
[Winx claims her third Apollo Stakes win (Lisa Grimm)]