The long awaited return of Winx proved worth the wait as world’s best horse on turf made it 14 straight wins, drawing clear to defeat Hartnell by three lengths.
Everything didn’t go to plan for the mighty mare, the first hiccup was at the start. Winx as she tends to do when fresh, was slow away from the barriers, bouncing out third last in the 12 horse field.
Jockey Hugh Bowman didn’t panic and used her good barrier to negotiate the field and settle in sixth placing with James Doyle placing the second favourite Hartnell on her back, following her every move.
There was cause for concern momentarily at the 500m mark as Bowman asked Winx to pick up, she didn’t respond immediately. “They left me a little flat footed when the pressure went on at the 600m, and if I was on anything else I might’ve been worried.” Said Bowman. “I just encouraged her to pick up the ones in front and in a blink of an eye it was all over.”
At the 300m marker, Winx idled up to stablemate Endless Drama, as she has done many times before. Melbourne Cup placegetter and Cox Plate runner-up Hartnell was in the rear view mirror two lengths away. That’s when Bowman then hit the accelerator and she showed the 6000 strong crowd what they came for, drawing clear to win in what seemed like a breeze.
Bowman was thankful for the tempo in the race, noting that he had concerns if there was no speed on. “It was a genuinely run 1400m, I was really concerned about a slow pace,” Bowman said. “I could’ve found myself in a sticky position. But with a genuine speed, I was able to travel comfortably throughout.”
Trainer Chris Waller said It’s always good getting her first-up run out of the way. “We know where she is now and she should continue to improve through the autumn.” He said.
With her 14th-straight victory, Winx joins Phar Lap on that mark. When she races in the Chipping Norton Stakes in two weeks time she will be aiming to join the likes of Carbine and Bernborough on 15-consecutive wins. Assuming she is too good she will then try and surpass them in the four million dollar Queen Elizabeth Stakes.