A remarkable Saturday across three states in Australia is one to never forgot with two Group 1 winners, another stakes winner and a filly that put herself firmly in the market for a Group 1 next start.
The queen of Australian racing Winx of course stole the show with another dominant victory in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes, her 25th consecutive win, equalling the longest winning streak set by Black Caviar.
Winx extended her Group 1 tally to 18 with every Group 1 she adds from now on setting a new benchmark in the history books for a flat horse anywhere in the world.
The talk pre-race was about the quality of the field being the strongest Winx has faced in a long time.
“For the first time in a long time I went through her opposition last night, I haven’t done that for years,” Chris Waller said. “I was thinking ‘what’s everyone beating up?’
“I’ve got the most respect for Happy Clapper, the most respect for Humidor, Gailo Chop and Ambitious coming from overseas but she only needed to get to her rating and she’s just too good.
“I’m not being a big head saying that, that’s just as simple as it is.
“You can only get the best out of her when she’s running against the best.”
Owned by Peter Tighe, Debbie Kepitis and Richard Treweeke, Winx has now earned just shy of $19m from her 35 starts. She was purchased for $230,000 from Coolmore at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale.
The preceding race to Winx’s history making win unveiled a new Group 1 star with Unforgotten asserting herself with a finish not too dissimilar to her famous stable mate.
The winner of the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes and runner-up in her previous start in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes, Unforgotten justified her favouritism for the Oaks, winning off a hot tempo in race record time.
Vinery Stud Stakes victor Hiyaam adopted the same tactics used to win the Group 1 at the pair’s previous meeting, running along in front and making the race a genuine staying contest.
“You never stop worrying in this job,” Waller said. “When I saw the speed on, like everybody else, I guess the first question was her stamina and whether it would hold up because for a three-year-old filly it’s a long race.
“You don’t really know until you run them but she had a perfect run and it was good to see her get the upper hand over the final 100m.
“Full credit to the second horse, she did it all the way.”
Purchased in New Zealand at the Karaka Premier Sale from Curraghmore Stud, Unforgotten cost NZ$360,000 and has already won over A$1m for owners Mr C J Waller, Magic Bloodstock Racing, Mr F W Cook, Mrs C M Cook, Mr N A Greenhalgh, Mrs M T Greenhalgh, Mr R Shrimpton, Mrs C Shrimpton, Mr I Bruce, Mr R Smith, Mr P Y W Ng, Mr K H Warriner, Mr J T C Lake & Mr B L Mathieson.
The stakes success continued in Queensland with Improvise winning the Listed Princess Stakes at the Sunshine Coast.
While earning valuable black-type, the Hinchinbrook filly is unlikely to head on the traditional Queensland Oaks path previous winners of the race have taken.
“She got beaten at Doomben last start but that was at 2000m and she was back to 1600m today,” Queensland foreman Paul Shailer said.
“I think she is unlikely at this stage to head to the Oaks because I don’t think she will stay.
“Chris might prove me wrong but at this stage she will be aimed at the shorter stakes races in the winter.”
By Yarraman Park stallion Hinchinbrook, she was purchased from that farm a the Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale as a yearling.
The day of girls’ success started in Melbourne with the promising Savacool impressively winning over 1600m and looking to emulate stablemate Egg Tart in winning the South Australian Oaks.
“She is on an Oaks path, that was the plan,” Victorian foreperson Joanne Taylor said. “Chris wanted her to come here today, get a bit of confidence, hopefully not have too tough a run.
“She’s settled in well and that was a good win – she certainly put them away today.”
The New Zealand-bred filly was bought at Karaka from Waikato Stud where her sire Savabeel stands.