A few anxious moments quickly dissipated for the legions of Winx fans as the wonder mare put on a heart-stopping race in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes.
It was the 28th consecutive victory for Winx and possibly her most nerve-racking, especially for her owners Debbie Kepitis, Peter Tighe & Richard Treweeke. She was selected for the group by Mulcaster Bloodstock at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale from Coolmore Stud and her $230,000 price tag has turned into $19,884,924 of prizemoney.
This year’s Turnbull was very different to last year when she was in front at the 300m mark. This year, she had plenty of work to do with 300m to go as the race had not gone to plan.
Buried away on the rail with most of the field in front of her as they entered the straight, Winx with Hugh Bowman guiding her had to navigate a path through runners.
“Isn’t she just amazing,” said Bowman. “I usually ride her so arrogantly and I just let her move into the race when it pleases me but I didn’t have that option today.
“I was inside Grunt, who I had a healthy respect for. I didn’t really want to be there but I didn’t have much choice.
“But it was her champion qualities that came out in the end.”
Not only did Winx have to find gaps but she also had to run extremely quick sectionals as the first half of the race was run slowly. Her final 600m was a scintillating 32.21 seconds and her last 200m a scorching 10.87 seconds.
A comparison of 800m splits shows the first 800m was run in 50.82 yet her final 800m was an astonishing 43.98, a difference of approximately 40 lengths.
Trainer Chris Waller was once again full of admiration for Winx after her 21st Group 1 victory.
“What more can you say, she does us proud each and every time,” he said.
“It’s pretty special.”
A tilt at a record fourth Cox Plate in three weeks’ time is next on the agenda for Winx.