IN what was probably her last appearance at Flemington in Melbourne Winx, the world’s Queen Of The Turf, registered 21st success at Group 1 level with a consecutive Turnbull Stakes triumph under Hugh Bowman on Saturday.
In front of a huge crowd, the champion mare also extended her winning sequence to 28 consecutive victories.
“Win or lose,” our aim is the Cox Plate (in three weeks at Mooney Valley),” trainer Chris Waller told an on-course interviewer pre-race and added that Winx needed a hot pace in this 2000m contest to show her best but that “they’d all be equal over the last 600m if it was a slow pace, and she can turn it on!”
It was as if Waller predicted what would happen. The clip was a slow one and Bowman positioned Winx at the rear after she jumped from barrier eight of 10.
She entered the home straight last and Bowman didn’t swing her out wide for a run like he’d done so many times from that position. Instead, he kept her behind horses waiting for a gap to open and for a few moments time stood still and Winx’s fans around the world held their breath, praying that she wouldn’t be hampered by a tired horse falling back.
But champions make their own luck. The gap appeared, she ran into it and then powered on to win going away under hands and heels.
“How’s your blood pressure after that,” asked the race caller as thousands of racegoers waved their flags and sighed a collective sigh of relief.
“We do respect the horse, we do respect her age and we do respect that she won’t be there forever but we are making the most of it and doing the best we can,” Waller commented.