A number of the top-fancied mares to take out...
Champion mare Winx has done it again, claiming her 27th straight victory at Royal Randwick on Saturday blitzing six other runners to also earn a hat-trick of wins in the George Main Stakes (1600m).
In typical fashion, Chris Waller’s eight-year old toyed with the field sitting seven lengths off the leader early. There was one nervy moment as Winx sat two from the fence with less than 250m to go, but a late kick from jockey Hugh Bowman saw the superstar race ahead of leader Le Romain to win by three lengths.
As Winx continues her prep towards potentially winning a fourth straight Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2400m) next month, Bowman was lost for words after yet another dazzling performance, but admits even he was a little surprised by the pace of the race.
“What can I say?” Bowman told Channel 7 following the win.
“That was a very strong pace, even with Religify, that’s his natural way of racing, but I didn’t expect them to go quite that fast.”
Kris Lees’ multiple Group 1 winner entered at long $18 odds with Ladbrokes prior to the race, but always figured as one of Winx’s biggest threats.
“Le Romain ran a hell of a race, and at the corner, I didn’t feel like she (Winx) was going to be as dominant as she usually is, but when that turbo pilot kicked into gear at the 250, it was all over” Bowman said.
For the first time in a long time, Winx’s odds drifted to a whopping $1.04 just minutes before the race. Punters collectively held their breath as Bowman uncharacteristically shifted to the outside a little earlier than normal on the final turn, however it still looks as though the 20-time Group 1 winner is in extraordinary condition with plenty more races to come.
“She just knows what she’s doing now,” Bowman claimed after the race.
“I used to control her through the gears, through the race, to help her know when and where to give her full energy, but she knows now, and I suppose I gotta learn with her, but that’s the first time I sort have wiggled around the corner in a 1600m race, but I think that’s a couple things, the pace we were going and the class of horses she races against, they’re the best in the country.”
Aside from runners like Le Romain, Waller’s other mare Egg Tart also had an impressive run finishing third, and appears to have come up well.
Still, the champion trainer credited Bowman for another classy ride in what was a big test.
“If you expect to win races every time at the 300m mark, you’ll probably come off second best. Hughey, just a well judged ride, he knew that he had that extra ten percent there that we see at every start, it gets her out of a lot of trouble and that’s why the winning sequence continues.”
Speaking of sequences, the Cox Plate is no doubt the aim for Winx, even if Waller won’t say for sure.
“See how she pulls up, we said we’d take one run at a time, we are thinking about a Cox Plate obviously, there’ll be no great surprises” Waller said.
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