Racing: Winx goes 16 straight at a canter

By Mike Dillon

Winx leaves rivals in her wake in the A$1 million George Ryder at Rosehill on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images
Winx leaves rivals in her wake in the A$1 million George Ryder at Rosehill on Saturday. Photo / Getty Images

When Hugh Bowman speaks you listen - he doesn't waste words.

What seemed an innocuous comment after Winx's truly remarkable win in the A$1 million George Ryder on Saturday may have said an awful lot.

"She's right at her peak now," said Bowman almost dismissively.

That could have meant a number of things. He might have been saying she will not get better than she is now, although she doesn't need to.

She beat them by a cricket pitch on Saturday and would have put a bigger gap into them if Bowman had wanted to. But in the very heavy going that would have been silly and the slow-speaking boy from Dunedoo doesn't do silly.

The staggering point about Winx is that while Saturday's Rosehill victory was her 16th straight, she has looked better and better with each of them, certainly since last spring's Cox Plate.

Bowman probably meant Winx is at the absolute top of her career right now. And that is probably to be expected. She has had 26 career starts and is rising six years old, a point in life from which very few thoroughbreds keep improving.

She doesn't need to get better, she would be a match for anything in the world in her current form.

At Rosehill on Saturday outstanding young English jockey William Buick - actually of Norwegian origin - was asked how he thought Winx would do against the world's best in Europe next year. He said: "I think she would do a lot of damage."

The job of keeping Winx at her current level for a further year falls to the infinitely careful Chris Waller. First Winx will run in the A$4 million Queen Elizabeth in a couple of weeks then probably spell and undergo a spring preparation for a record-equalling third Cox Plate.

Getting a horse to its absolute peak is one thing, maintaining that for an extended period is another. Especially when swapping hemispheres.

We saw Black Caviar lowered to beneath her best health when taken to England. Common sense would have been to bring her home without racing, but the immense pressure saw the team line her up and she was so good she still won by the width of your hand to keep her unbeaten record intact.

Of course, that doesn't always happen, but it can and what a career finale it would be for Winx, Bowman and Waller, the boy from Foxton, to trample on the world's best.

By a cricket pitch.

Only misfortune can prevent it.

Most group one wins

1 Black Caviar 15
2 Kingston Town 14
3 Sunline 13; Tie The Knot 13
5 Winx 11; Manikato 11; Lonhro 11; Rough Habit 11
9 Octagonal 10
10 Northerly 9

Winning streaks

25 Black Caviar
19 Gloaming, Desert Gold
18 Ajax
17 Mainbrace
16 Winx
15 Bernborough, Carbine
14 Phar Lap

- NZ Herald

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