For Matamata co-trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards there was only one word to describe the pathway of their champion racehorse, Gingernuts, in a fortnight.
"Winx," said Autridge at the birdcage in Hastings soon after all the pomp and ceremony as Owen Patrick (Opie) Bosson rode the champion chestnut gelding to victory in the group one $200,000 Windsor Park Plate, eclipsing Close Up and veteran jockey Grant Cooksley by a short neck and relegating pre-race favourite Kawi and Jason Waddell to third place on Saturday.
"She's won 20 in a row," he said of Winx, who was only the third horse to be inducted this year into the Australia Hall of Fame while still in training.
Autridge had, before the plate meeting, alluded to taking Gingernuts to the Victoria Spring Racing Carnival starting in a fortnight on the endorsement of the Te Akau syndicate.
"I think at this stage we're back here in two weeks."
He said the "loose talk" with the syndicate owners was to return to the $250,000 group one Livamol Classic (2040) but that would be rubber stamped after a meeting with Te Akau principal David Ellis today.
"The more time you spend at home, the happier your horse will be. You take a horse away from home then you don't know how they are going to travel, how they will adapt to a new property, new water, new atmosphere so the later you get there the better," he explained.
Winx, a 6-year-old mare, is a gob-smacking allrounder in every sense of the word because of her ability to win from distances ranging from 1300m to 2200m.
Having won more than A$13 million ($14.12m) for her owners, Winx is in the A$500,000 Turnbull Stakes in the Victoria Racing Club's group one thoroughbred race for horses 4 years old and older, run under set weights with penalties conditions over 2000m.
The Turnbull Stakes is held at Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, on October 7. It is considered a vital precursor to the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and the largest thoroughbred meeting in the southern hemisphere, the Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Autridge told Windsor Park interests it was better to be a hero at the Livamol Classic than a gallant runner-up to Winx in the Turnbull Stakes.
"If we go over there, you'd think we'd be running second so we're better off staying here and winning, aren't we?"
The plan, he confirmed, was to take Gingernuts to the Caulfield Cup instead after the Classic here.
Autridge said the progression plan was if Gingernuts made all the right noises at Caulfield Cup Melbourne Cup would beckon.
"Our No 1 plan is to go to the Caulfield Cup to be the best we can to be there to win it then after that we'll have to have another talk."
But he and Richards lapped up the joy of Gingernuts' success on Saturday with their legion of orange baseball cap-wearing co-owners here.
"It's like winning Lotto. You've got to try to get them all in a row and sometimes it does happen - today it did but it doesn't always work that way," said Autridge after the racing gods answered their prayers with ideal weather, No 9 gate for the second leg of the Bostock New Zealand Spring Racing Carnival trilogy here.
He said their 4-year-old chestnut, sired by Iffraaj (2001, Great Britain) out of Double Elle (2001, NZ), was good despite finishing fifth in the Tarzino Trophy (1400m) because of interference on September 2.
So was champion jockey Bosson who was pivotal in eking out a great result on Saturday.
"He's been with me for years and he's my godson and has ridden most of my group one winners, so if I hadn't got him on he [Gingernuts] would probably have run second. So we've got him and we're pretty happy."
A grinning Autridge said the "G Nuts" brigade had to be ecstatic.
"For most of them it's their first horse," he said of Gingernuts, who won the 142nd edition of the group one New Zealand Derby in March, on the heels of defying the 26-1 odds in the group two Avondale Guineas in February, before showing his prowess by claiming the group one Rosehill Guineas in his Australian debut in March.
"They've got to be the happiest people in New Zealand because he didn't cost a lot of money and they got him very cheaply."
Gingernuts was sold as a weanling for $5000 but fetched $42,500 when put through the ring again in the 2015 Ready to Run Sale of 2-year-olds where Te Akau Racing bought him.
Gingernuts, who has since earned more than $1 million for the syndicate, began his career winning two of his first five races on rural tracks such as Te Teko.
Autridge said New Zealand Racing needed the G Nuts kind of following.
"We spoke earlier on when Sunline came down here it made you pay to get in through the gates because that's how many people came to watch her and there weren't so many people here today.
"We need good horses to make our racing interesting and we can produce the best horses in the southern hemisphere so we've got carry on looking for them," he said of Sunline, who won a 3-year-old handicap restricted 1200m race in Hastings in August 1998 before returning as a 7-year-old to clinch the group two 1400m Mudgway Stakes in August 2002.
The Trevor McKee-trained bay mare died in 2009.
Autridge said Close Up was like Gingernuts in some respects although not many pundits talked about the Shelley Hale-trained 8-year-old gelding.