WINX, the thoroughbred phenomenon, swept to her 26th successive victory in the Gr1 race named after her, at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
The seven-year-old mare came from her customary race position – among the backmarkers, turned on the heat and quickened away in her familiar, all-conquering style to win the 1400m contest going away from Invitus Prince.
For the first time in a while, even a proportion of her legion of supporters had their doubts whether Winx, at her age, could return from a long break over a trip short of her best to beat the so-called “new brigade”, led by Godolphin’s runner Kementari – or “Special K” as he has become affectionately known.
The on-course presenters suggested some excuses pre-race – just in case – from blustery race day conditions, to her coat “not having fully come through” to a saddle adjustment at the pens. There were a few moments in the back straight – just before she found her stride – when one may have thought, ‘that’s it, she’s beaten,’ but when her cylinders started firing it was all over.
Winx and Kementari made their runs together, but the mare was far too good with the Godolphin star fading out, unplaced.
“She’s incredible, I am lost for words,” said jockey Hugh Bowman after the race. “Coming into the straight I thought she was near her top, it was difficult because 1400m is too short for her. I saw Kementari next to us and thought he would go with her and bring her to top speed, but when she balanced up saw the winning post… ah, what can I say!”
Going into today’s assignment, Winx had been locked together with fellow champion mare Black Caviar on 25 consecutive wins.
The victory also takes Winx to a world record 19 Group 1s.
Her next race is likely to be the $500,000 Group 1 George Main Stakes at the same venue as she attempts to win a record fourth consecutive Group 1 Cox Plate this preparation.
The Winx Stakes was previously known as the Warwick Stakes before its name change and elevation to Group 1 status.
Before today the champion mare had won the past two Warwick Stakes when the race was run as a Group 2 event.
RACE REPLAY HERE
-extracts from Daily Telegraph, news.com.au