There seemed more reason to think that the remarkable winning sequence of multiple Group 1 winner Winks (Street Cry) might come to an end at a saturated Rosehill Gardens offering the heaviest racing conditions witnessed in Sydney for a very long day.
But if anything, the $1m, Group 1 ATC China Horse Club George Ryder (1500m) will be remembered for one of the champion racemare’s greatest ever performances.
Winx and Hugh Bowman head to the finish in complete control, picture Sportpix.com.au
Shooting for her 16th straight victory and second consecutive success in one of the outstanding events on the domestic racing calendar, the amazing Winx treated the Australian racing public to a galloping exhibition, careering away from her opposition to score by no less than seven and a quarter lengths.
In truth, not one of her rivals ever seemed to be traveling well enough at any stage of the race to provide the remarkable racemare with some resistance, and the event as a contest was as good as over by the very top of the home straight.
Seemingly in complete control with her biggest rivals making heavy weather of the conditions, Winx travelled sweetly throughout and went on to score without her opponents landing a single blow.
Even trainer Chris Waller appeared surprised at the authority of her victory, admitting immediately afterwards.
“I didn’t expect her to win like that. She is just an amazing horse. It is amazing to have a horse that you’re associated with who is so well received,” he said.
Regular pilot Hugh Bowman was equally in awe of Winx after the win.
“It is just so special. I am really lost for words as she receives a round of applause here," he said.
“There is a great deal of responsibility to be involved with her, but with that comes a great deal of confidence. I feel like she is in the prime of her career. I expected more tempo early but I knew on the way to the barriers she meant business today.”
Winx won the Group 1 feature by 7 1/4L from Le Romain in second, with Chautauqua finishing third a further 1 1/4L in arrears.
Both exceptional horses in their own right, Le Romain (Hard Spun) and Chautauqua (Encosta de Lago) proved to be no match for Winx on the day, the former unable to produce a kick when racing on the pace, and the latter only battling on gamely after looking to struggle in the ground throughout.
Winx, by Street Cry out of the Al Akar mare Vegas Showgirl, returned a starting price of $1.26, while Le Romain went off at $10.00 and Chautauqua at $9.00.
The win took Winx's career earnings past the $10 million barrier after 26 mostly unforgettable starts for her owners Peter Tighe, Richard Treweeke and Debbie Kepitis.
Hugh Bowman acknowledges the crowd's applause, picture Sportpix.com.au
What the beaten jockeys said:
Tommy Berry (Chautauqua): “He travelled well in the run. He probably got a bit keen cause they didn’t go that quick. I was never in the race at the top of the straight, he was struggling to find his feet, but once he got to about the 250m he really knuckled down. I think you will find his last furlong and a half was pretty quick but the race was over and done with by the time he warmed up. I think he will be better back to sprint trips as well.”
Glyn Schofield (Le Romain): “He ran a super race. He put a margin on Chautauqua who was close to him last week so an improved performance today, but unfortunately not good enough to beat her. The pace was sedate for the first couple of furlongs. I let him go and chimed in through the 500m. He likes a wet track so he quickened nicely for me and for 100m I thought I wonder where Winx is. Then I got my answer. Four in front.”
William Buick (Hauraki): “Good run. He fought all the way. I thought I was going to be third at one stage but you would have to be happy with that performance.”
Christian Reith (Leebaz): “Just a little bit too heavy for him today. He struggled.”
Kerrin McEvoy (McCreery): “He just lost his footing in that ground. He likes wet ground but it was too wet for him.”
Kanichiro Fujii (Sylpheed): “She ran well but obviously struggled with the ground and that’s a bit strong company today.”
George Ryder Stakes, photo finish picture ATC