The Chris Waller trained Winx under Hugh Bowman won her 25th consecutive victory when taking the $4m, Group 1 WFA Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on Saturday overtaking the champion sprinter Black Caviar’s record with a dominant performance of the highest order.
A packed Randwick roared their approval as the six-year-old Street Cry mare, the highest rated horse currently racing in the world, demolished the field of ten with ease and fluency to record a 3 3/4L win, her 29th overall, and increase her stakes earnings to $18,998,424. It was her second victory in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and her 18th Group 1 win.
The bare facts of the race were that Bowman settled Winx last as they went down the back straight with Galio Chop (FR) and Mark Zahra leading. Bowman commenced his move with Winx at the 600m going around the field. They were six wide on the turn and Winx cruised up the hill with Galio Chop still 2L ahead with 300m to run.
Winx had her target and Bowman shook her up. The mare was ahead of the rest of the field by the 250m and she had drifted across to be closer to Galio Chop, but only storm past at the 200m. Bowman gave the mare a reminder and she was away racing in the middle of the field for the win.
Winx and Hugh Bowman head off away from the field, picture Sportpix.com.au
The result was a thumping win, surrounded by a wall of sound from the packed vantage points that dispelled any thought that this mare was not at her peak. She can now go forward to the spring for another campaign for the Group 1 WS Cox Plate to emulate her 2015, 2016 and 2017 wins in the race at The Valley in October.
Galio Chop (Deportivo) was strong maintaining second place with last week’s Doncaster Mile winner Happy Clapper (Teofilo) and Kerrin McEvoy came into third with a rails run. Humidor was fourth and Comin’ Through fifth.
The time was 2.01.65 on the Good 4 track, outside of the race record of 2.01.22 set by Intergaze in 1997, with the final 600m in 34.32. Winx was naturally heavily backed from the outset with wagers including $40,000 @ $1.20 placed ten minutes before the start. Winx paid $1.24 on fixed odds and $1.20 on the tote.
“Hard to describe. We have got an amazing sport,” said Waller.
“You can only get the best out of her when she is running against the best.”
“It has been a learning curve. We are at a stage now we are used to this constant pressure which is pretty intense. As you see the great sporting coaches, I love watching them, seeing how they cope with losses, you don’t stop learning.
“We will have thoughts on our minds from tonight. We will start to work the time off she has had and how long she needs to be in to prepare,” he said of the upcoming spring.
“She is just an exceptional athlete, she creates so much attention, I am just so elated, I am so proud of her and I am just so proud to be a part of it. What can I say, I am lost for words,” said Bowman.
“There is so many cogs to the wheel and I know I get the dream ride here today, god forbid if something went wrong it wouldn’t be a good place to be, but she is so exceptional, she is able to overcome everything and what a pleasure she is for sport.
“I know I have got the engine to round them up, but I cannot do it on my own, Ambitious made a bit of a mid-race move, which fortunately played into my hands.
“The bottom line is she’s got 10-12L on her rivals, it makes it easy for me,” he said.
Winx, out of the Al Akbar mare Vega Showgirl, was bred by John Camilleri’s Fairway Thoroughbreds and she is owned by Peter Tighe’s Magic Bloodstock, Richard Treweeke and Debbie Kapitis.
Hugh Bowman signals the win, picture Sportpix.com.au
Queen Elizabeth Stakes, photo finish picture ATC
What the beaten jockeys said:
Kerrin McEvoy (Happy Clapper): “He went great. It was just a modest tempo. He applied himself well though and stayed on nicely.”
Mark Zahra (Gailo Chop): “He has run enormous. There aren’t many times you go into a Group 1 happy to run second but I think we can do that today.”
Blake Shinn (Humidor): “Humidor ran super. There just wasn’t enough tempo there to give him an opportunity to run at his best. I thought he ran a brave race with a creditable fourth.”
Craig Williams (Ambitious): “He got the first 1000m right. Then someone got on him from behind, he got keen and took off from that time. I thought he was a bit plain in his action in the straight but it turns out he has lost three shoes so it is a good excuse.”
Joao Moreira (Success Days): “He didn’t break as well as we were hoping so we ended up behind and he was a little bit too keen and couldn’t finish off. He also found the ground a bit too hard.”
Andrew Adkins (Classic Uniform): “He’s probably looking for a spell now. He’s done a good job this prep and this was probably a bit hard for him as well.”
Michael Walker (Comin' Through): “I don’t reckon he stays 2000m.”
Damian Lane (Odeon): “He ran a really credible race. The pace came early into the race and I wasn’t quite ready to go so I thought he did well to box on.”
Jason Collett (Consensus): “She didn’t relax very well. To run as well as she did, I’m pretty happy with that.”