Winx equalled Phar Lap’s record of 14 consecutive wins with a polished and ever powerful demonstration of her prowess when taking the $250,000, Group 2 WFA The Star Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Monday.
The Chris Waller trained five-year-old mare, rated the 2016 highest rated Longines Turf Horse of the Year and Highest Rated Mare at 132, was supreme once again under Hugh Bowman and she showed her trademark turn of foot to once again place herself into a different stratosphere over her opponents.
Winx and Hugh Bowman head off to the finish line, picture Sportpix.com.au
Bowman placed her in sixth racing one out as they went up to and across the High Street straight as Shiraz and Josh Parr led the field over Leebaz (NZ) and Tommy Berry. Heading around the turn for the home straight Bowman made sure he was tracking stablemate Endless Drama (IRE) and Tye Angland and as the leading duo dropped away heading up the hill he was poised to make his move.
Endless Drama was going well and then Bowman eased Winx up outside and with 300m to run he asked her for another gear. Instantly the mare went ahead and with 200m to run she was already clear.
Hartnell (GB) (Authorized) and James Doyle came from the field to chase, but they were running for second which they did just as easily as Winx did in winning, with the margins at the line 2 3/4L and 4L to Endless Drama (Lope De Vega) and Angland. Dibayani (IRE) was fourth and Magic Hurricane (IRE) fifth.
The time was 1.22.57 on the Good 4 track with the final 600m in 34.96. Winx paid $1.15 on fixed odds and $1.10 on the tote.
Bowman acknowledges the crowd, picture Sportpix.com.au
Winx returned to massive applause and cheers from a good crowd of 5,658 who had taken advantage of free entry and the later race start time after the working day to make the trip to Randwick to see the mare. Over 1,000 of the crowd came through the gates in the hour before the race.
“The first race back is always the hardest race back, to have so many people behind it is just humbling, wow she did it,” said part-owner Debbie Kepitis.
“You cannot describe how it feels to have the whole of Australia and a lot of other places behind this wonderful horse. She is wonderful and great and I cannot describe how great it is to have everyone behind her. It makes racing what it is,” she said.
“She did not jump into stride, but she gets a bit fractious in the barriers when she is fresh and as she gets into her prep she gets more relaxed and the nervous energy in her, and all of us, gets to dissipate a little,” said Bowman.
“It was a genuinely run 1400m and with the genuine speed I was able to travel comfortably throughout. I was left a little flatfooted when the pressure went on at the 600m and if I had been on anything else I might have been worried.
“I just encouraged her to pick up the ones in front and get the tail of Tye Angland and in the blink of an eye it was all over.
“We have come to have a very healthy respect for her as does everyone who watches her. It is great to part of it and she is great for our industry.
“Chris has done a great job getting her ready to perform at this level and it is a fine balancing act for him to have her forward enough to perform at a level she can improve on, but does not take too much out of her.
“She is an exciting piece of work and it is a privilege to part of it,” he said.
Winx, by Street Cry out of the Al Akbar mare Vegas Showgirl, now heads to the Group 1 WFA Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) back at Randwick on February 25th.
Her record of 18 wins and three seconds from 24 starts has now taken her stakes to $9,491,925 for owners Kapitis, Richard Treweeke and Peter Tighe’s Magic Bloodstock Racing.
Winx and Bowman zip on by, picture Sportpix.com.au
Apollo Stakes, photo finish picture ATC