Champion mare Winx has been crowned Horse of the Year

Winx nestles comfortably in the pantheon of the all-time greats after her 21st successive win in the Turnbull Stakes preceded her crowning as Horse of the Year at an awards ceremony in Brisbane on Sunday night.

Sydney’s wonder mare claimed Australian racing’s ultimate honour after an undefeated 2016-17 season where she won her eight starts including six at Group 1 level.

Winx has now won consecutive Horse of the Year titles, joining Sunline, Makybe Diva and Black Caviar as the only mares to be multiple winners of the award.

But Winx showed in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington last Saturday that she is well on the way to another Horse of the Year honour as she romped home to a six-and-a-half lengths win.

The champion mare is now into $1.25 favouritism to win a third successive Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 28.

Trainer Chris Waller described Winx’s Turnbull effort — the mare’s 14th Group 1 win — as “poetry in motion.’’

Winx was back to her dominant self after having three Sydney wins which were tougher than expected.

“I still think she wasn’t going that badly in Sydney but it was pleasing to see her amble up to them at the 400m like she did,’’ Waller said.

“At her last three runs, I thought at the 400m she might get beaten but almost every other start, at the 400m you see her cruise up to them and you can enjoy the last 200m.’’

Winx left Humidor and others struggling her wake in the Turnbull, her seemingly effortless win masking the crushing defeats she inflicts on her rivals.

“She flattens them and I’m talking good Group 1 horses,’’ Waller said.

“I’ve never said this before but I’ve had good horses like Kermadec and Press Statement, both Group 1 winners, and they raced Winx in the George Ryder (Stakes) last year and they were not the same after that.
“Foxplay ran second to Winx first-up but she wasn’t the same horse and was as flat as a tack for two weeks.

“But Winx comes through a race well, holds her weight and is ready for the next challenge.’’

Winx looks to have a mortgage on a third successive Cox Plate, equalling the legendary Kingston Town’s three-peat in 1980-81-82.

Waller said he will be “keeping it simple” with Winx’s preparation with the Cox Plate now less than three weeks away.

Team Winx cleaned up the major awards on Sunday night with Winx winning the Middle Distance category, her rider Hugh Bowman was awarded the leading Group 1 rider title and Waller picked up the Bart Cummings Award for leading Group 1 trainer.

Chautauqua won the Champion Sprinter Award, while Golden Slipper winner She Will Reign was given the Champion 2YO title with both set to clash in The Everest at Royal Randwick on Saturday. – The Daily Telegraph