When Australian wonder mare Winx jumped out to a great start in her newly fitted earmuffs, fans might have thought that Saturday’s Chelmsford (G2) wouldn’t furnish the edge-of-your-seat suspense of her 18th straight win in the Warwick (G2). Yet this time, the suspense came courtesy of front runner Red Excitement, whose daring gambit nearly thwarted number 19 for the world’s top-ranked turf horse.
As the pacesetter gave the field the slip around the Randwick turn and opened up a massive lead into the stretch, Winx had to close furiously to chase him down. Both trainer Chris Waller and regular rider Hugh Bowman commented afterward that they were much more concerned about her here than they were with her slow-starting Warwick. Like the great champion she is, however, Winx summoned a sustained burst of speed to blow by Red Excitement and cross the wire a length clear.
That was brilliant!
— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) September 2, 2017
“They turned the race on, tried to break us up,” Waller said postrace, as reported by racenet.com.au.
“I didn’t think she was going to get there today to be honest. I was more confident the other day at the 300 (meter-mark).”
Bowman reportedly dropped his whip inside that last furlong and a half, but Winx doesn’t need extra encouragement from the astute reinsman.
“At the top of the straight I wasn’t worried last start, but today I really was,” Bowman said. “What she did today was incredible.”
Winx’s closing fractions were brilliant once again, her final 600 meters (about three furlongs) clocked in :33.10, her penultimate 200 meters in :10.80, and her final sectional in :11.22. Her final time for the metric mile over a good course was 1:34.11.
By extending her winning streak to an amazing 19, Winx emulated another superb daughter of Street Cry, U.S. Hall of Famer Zenyatta. She’s still got six more to go to equal the legendary sprinter Black Caviar.
The September 16 George Main (G1) is next on the agenda, as Waller plots her path to a record-tying third trophy in the October 28 Cox Plate (G1).