A capacity field of Stradbroke Handicap hopefuls...
An emotional Chris Waller was on hand at Randwick on Saturday as Winx claimed her 30th straight win in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes.
The mighty mare was alongside five other stablemates made up of Happy Clapper, Patrick Erin, Egg Tart, Unforgotten and Tom Melbourne, but all it took was a clinical ride from long-time jockey Hugh Bowman for the mighty mare to claim her third Apollo Stakes victory.
Winx was last out of the gate, but as usual settled towards the back of the pack to run over the top of Happy Clapper and Egg Tart down the straight. Despite two leadup trials at Rosehill last month, Waller was undeniably nervous as he watched on for the first time since Winx’s historic fourth Cox Plate victory at Moonee Valley last October.
“Just a sense of relief, we take it so personally, she can’t tell us when she’s had enough, we made the decision to push on a bit further… she’s pretty good” Waller told Channel 7.
The seven-year-old hardly looked faze down the straight as Bowman shifted through the gears. A two-length win to Happy Clapper kicked off the farewell tour in style, silencing any doubts as to whether or not the right decision had been made to undergo one final prep.
“Quite unbelievable, it’s racing of years gone by,” Waller said.
“We got a glimpse of it with Black Caviar, she set the scene in recent years, and your Makaybe Diva’s, and now Winx following on from that. It’s indescribable for any sport, and for racing it’s just so great.”
Winx will now look ahead to the $500,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1400m) at Randwick in two weeks’ time, followed by the George Ryder Stakes (1500m),and finally, a trip to the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 13 in what could be her final ever race.
As for Saturday’s win, Bowman knew he had some work to do over the final 400m if he was to keep in touch with the leaders, but admits he couldn’t be happier with how Winx traveled.
“The pace of the race was very even which suited us, I just had to niggle her to hold a position closer than I normally would over a bit further, especially when I could see the path Sam (Clipperton) was plodding on Happy Clapper.
“Out of pure just respect for that horses ability, we needed to be within striking distance, but as the race unfolded we settled into rhythm as we always do and it was a pretty comfortable race for me and it was pretty comfortable for Winx, too.” Bowman said.
Full Chipping Norton Stakes Odds:
Racing fields and data are copyright 2011-2018 © Racing Australia Pty Ltd (RA) (and other parties working with it).
Racing materials, including fields, form and results, is subject to copyright which is owned by RA and other parties working with it. Full copyright notice.