Peter Tighe, a part-owner of Winx, paid tribute to the genius of Chris Waller after he trained his 100th Group 1 winner with the great mare’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes success at Royal Randwick.
“I don’t think anyone is more deserving than Chris of getting his 100th Group 1 winner with the best horse that has ever gone around in the world,’’ he said.
Tighe could be excused for letting the emotion of the moment get to him after the race but there was a real symmetry about Winx’s farewell win.
Winx has provided 25 of Waller’s century of majors since the trainer won his first Group 1 with Triple Honour in the 2008 Doncaster Mile.
Waller trained three Group 1 winners on Saturday, he also prepared Shraooh to win the Sydney Cup and Verry Ellegant to take out the ATC Australian Oaks. With a career tally of 101 Group wins and counting, he becomes only the sixth trainer to achieve the feat after Tommy Smith (282), Bart Cummings (268), Gai Waterhouse (139), Lee Freedman (124) and John Hawkes (112).
But what of Winx, the wonder mare who goes into retirement after 33 consecutive wins. She has broken all sort of records including:
● Winx took her career earnings to $26,451,175 and is now the greatest prizemoney earner in world racing.
● Her 25th Group 1 win is a world record. Black Caviar retired with 25 wins, 15 at Group 1 level.
● The date of Winx’s final race, April 13, was the same as Black Caviar’s in the 2013 TJ Smith Stakes.
● Hugh Bowman’s 32nd win on Winx equalled the jockey-horse record of Ted Bartle and High Caste set 80 years ago.
● With a career total of 37 wins, Winx retires with the same number of wins as Phar Lap.
● Winx becomes the only horse to win three consecutive Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
● TAB took its biggest ever bet on a horse race with a $550,000 wager at $1.06 on Winx.
Debbie Kepitis, a part-owner of Winx, said: “She is the most amazing, supreme athlete I’ve ever seen handled by the best coach.’’
Hugh Bowman admitted “it’s hard to believe it’s the end actually” but Tighe said Winx’s retirement was a time for celebration, not sadness.
“It is the end in one way and the start in another,’’ Tighe said. “I’m not sad, no point being sad. The tears are all tears of joy. Winx is going to become a mum now so there is a few more chapters to go with this story.’’
Hugh Bowman guided the great mare to her third Queen Elizabeth Stakes win, her last race before retirement.
The win was not only a milestone moment for Winx but also for trainer Chris Waller, who picked up his 100th Group 1 victory. Verry Elleegant’s success at the ATC Oaks earlier in the day moved Waller to 99 before Winx helped him raise the ton. He added Group 1 No.101 with Shraaoh in the Sydney.
Winx’s win follows the TAB taking the biggest single wager on the mare, with one punter dropping a cool $550,000 on her last race. – The Daily Telegraph