March 22, 2019

Winx makes it 30 straight in stakes-record Apollo

Winx remains invincible as she begins her final campaign (Photo by Steve Hart via Sky Racing World)

The world’s top horse is entering the final phase of her career, but she’s not slowing down. Last seen landing the Cox Plate (G1) for the fourth time, wonder mare Winx returned triumphant in Saturday’s Apollo S. (G2) at Randwick to prolong her winning streak to 30.

Trainer Chris Waller and regular rider Hugh Bowman had said that Winx was ready to fire off the 3 1/2-month break, and did she ever. The seven-year-old legend produced her whirlwind charge down the stretch to win handily, in a stakes-record 1:20.88 for the about seven-furlong test.

“She was in pure control from the 600 meters when the pressure started to build,” Bowman said. “As we’ve seen over the distance previously, she can be left a bit flatfooted, but because of the even pace of the race, it wasn’t the case today.”

Familiar foe Happy Clapper tried his heart out in a gallant second. After tracking the pace set by Tom Melbourne, Happy Clapper struck the front until Winx lifted late.

“It was a cracking run, his usual honest effort, and if it wasn’t for Winx he’d be Australia’s champ,” jockey Sam Clipperton said. “I didn’t feel her until when she got to me because Clapper was quickening that fast. She is just in another world.”

Winx had five stablemates in the Apollo. Egg Tart fared the best of them in third, followed by Patrick Erin and Unforgotten, both likely to move forward going longer next time, and Tom Melbourne. Aloisia interrupted the Waller procession by plugging on for sixth, and Waller’s stayer Brimham Rocks trailed.

The Randwick crowd voiced its appreciation for the great mare, who’s expected to retire after the conclusion of this Australian autumn campaign.

Waller commented on how Winx has grown more relaxed, enjoying her racing as well as the affection lavished upon her:

As her connections mentioned, Winx will go for her 31st straight in the March 2 Chipping Norton (G1) over Randwick’s metric mile, which she’s won for the past three years. Then the tentative plan is to pursue another four-timer in the George Ryder (G1) at Rosehill March 23, and make her grand finale in the April 13 Queen Elizabeth (G1) back at Randwick, where the daughter of Street Cry would bid to crown her career with a three-peat.