It was Don Bradmanesque. Bart Cummingsesque, Kingston Townesque.

Which one was Winx on Saturday? All three.

Like Bradman because in making it 20 straight in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) the remarkable mare took the final step to becoming an Australian iconic hero the same as Sir Don did with his bat nearly 90 years ago.

Cummingsesque because Winx and her equally remarkable trainer Chris Waller and his team completely mask the extreme difficulty and finite attention to detail in establishing this footprint.


And Kingston Townesque simply because Winx is winding up to equal the great Tommy Smith-trained champion in winning three straight Cox Plates.

Even though he won only one of Kingston Town's three Cox Plates, former champion jockey Malcolm Johnson partnered the champ in most of his victories and paid Winx the ultimate compliment on Friday.

"Only over two miles (3200m) would I be sure the King would have beaten Winx. Over any other distance I wouldn't be sure he could beat her." Mouthfuls don't come bigger. Not from someone entitled to be biased.

Three races down this campaign and three times Winx has worried her fans and put a frown on Waller. The resuming run when she missed the start by at least four lengths, the start before Saturday when Red Excitement put six lengths on her on the home bend, which against any other horse than Winx would have been a winning break. On Saturday, Waller would be telling a porky if he said he wasn't even slightly concerned when, at the 500m, Winx was at the tail of the field with Hugh Bowman scrubbing the champ up with seemingly little response.

If there is one quality that defines champions, it's that they find a way to win when they can't win.

Bowman summed it up this way: "Once she gets the scent, she just cuts in. It's almost like auto-pilot."

Happy Clapper established a handsome lead at the 300m, but when Winx finally hit one of her top gears she breezed past with the stunning ease only champions can muster.

"She picked Happy Clapper up in two strides," said Bowman as if anything else would be unthinkable.

One factor was clearly obvious on Saturday and it is almost certainly the reason why Waller is carefully planning his path to the Cox Plate - Winx relishes a little give in the footing.

There were a couple of reasons Winx looked to be off the bit at the 500m, the pace was lightning hot and she wasn't comfortable on the very firm ground. Winx's dam Vegas Showgirl, trained in New Zealand, had 14 starts on good tracks for two wins. On the slow she won two of her three runs and she was unbeaten in three starts in the heavy. Winx can handle wet tracks.

Originally Waller had planned two further races heading to the Cox Plate, but indicated that now could be reduced to one, the decision promised today.

There is no cause for concern though because if you look through each of Winx's runs during her magnificent campaign last season, the most comfortable she looked was on the extremely forgiving Moonee Valley track on Cox Plate day.

When she breezed past Hartnell and James McDonald at the 400m on her way to the most astounding win of the season, it was like a Ferrari passing a pushbike.

Although overshadowed, the Pat Webster- trained Happy Clapper turned in a stunning performance and is now clear favourite for the Epsom Handicap.

Remarkably, Winx still has her doubters. "She can't keep doing this and continue to win," said one commentator yesterday. The point is, she can. She's a champion.