There are of course the numbers, 30 straight wins, 34 in total from 40 starts, stakes earnings of $23,080,674, a new race record for the Group 2 WFA The Star Apollo Stakes, but jockey Hugh Bowman said it all of Winx’s win at Randwick on Saturday in the 2019 renewal of the race that ‘the result was there for everyone to see’.
Indeed it was as the world champion mare, trained by Chris Waller, not only blitzed the field by 2 1/4L she clocked 1.20.88 to smash Grand Armee’s former race record of 1.21.06 and she came home over the final 600m in 33.02.
Bowman settled Winx in her first race of this campaign in fifth as Tom Melbourne (IRE) and Glyn Schofield set the tempo at the front. Passing the 600m Bowman as usual started to ask Winx to move forward to the leaders and they cruised up the hill at the 400m to be racing alongside Happy Clapper and Sam Clipperton who had taken over the running.
At the 200m Bowman pressed the button and Winx surged forward in a brilliant burst of speed under a hands and heels ride and they were away to the line with Bowman easing the mare before the finish.
Happy Clapper (Teofilo) as expected was second with Egg Tart (Sebring) and Brenton Avdulla third, the margin 2L. Patrick Erin was fourth, Unforgotten fifth, Tom Melbourne sixth, Aloisa seventh Brimham Rocks eighth.
Winx and Hugh Bowman head off to the line, picture Sportpix.com.au
Bowman brought mare back to the winners stall along the outside running rail to thunderous applause. He rode back to the 200m mark to allow the entire 15,330 crowd to appreciate the mare and her performance.
“We expected something like that today, but as I said during the week until we get her here under race conditions you really never know until she is put under a competitive environment which he was today. After I rode her here last Saturday morning it really gave me the confidence she was back and she was ready to race. She certainly franked those thoughts this afternoon,” said Bowman.
“I was not expecting to see Patrick Ern to go across in front of me and I was thinking in my head ‘Sam, (Weatherley) really’.
“Anyway as the race unfolded it was a nice even pace set by Tom Melbourne and Glyn Schofield. The position I was in I thought I was within distance of Happy Clapper even if he runs a career best race which I properly did not expect today, but I still had a healthy respect for him.
“I was able to pull her out, it was a very smooth run, I was able to let her go through her gears without forcing the issue When I asked her for her full effort at the 200m mark the result was there for everyone to see,” he said.
“You just hope you get a trouble free run and they come home safe. In that position she just showed how good she is. That is what everyone wants to see and it is becoming more of that, making sure the fans, worldwide now get to see her at her best and she certainly was today first up,” said an emotional Chris Waller.
“She is great for racing.
“Seeing her come back like that and with natural improvement the plan is the Chipping Norton. Last year we dd not have the beauty of the first up run and first up she went straight into it so look out in two weeks’ time
“I saw Hugh niggle at her at the 500m just to say time to wake, she quickly strode to the front. We were obviously weary of Happy Clapper and how much acceleration he has, but she just ambled up to them.
“I think for the betterment of racing she is here. We never really open her up as such which is sort of our safety valve so you go into the races blind, but you go into the races with a world champion,” he said.
It was another excellent performance and the next mission for Winx is the Group 1 TAB Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) back at Randwick on March 2nd.
Winx, by Street Cry out of the Al Akbar Vegas Showgirl, is owned by Peter Tighe’s Magic Bloodstock Racing, Richard Treweeke and Debbie Kepitis.
Every vantage point taken before the race, picture Sportpix.com.au
Chris Waller, picture Sportpix.com.au
Apollo Stakes, photo finish picture ATC
SHE DOES IT AGAIN! @Winx_horse makes history by becoming the first horse to win 3 Apollo Stakes'. The champion mare extends her winning streak to 30. Outstanding! @royalrandwick @cwallerracing pic.twitter.com/dy5WkFz8Of— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) February 16, 2019