Winx didn’t have a hard run, has pulled up in great order and is likely to be back at Royal Randwick in the Chelmsford Stakes in two weeks.
This was trainer Chris Waller’s succinct summation after the mighty mare’s sensational win in the Group 2 $250,000 Bob Ingham Warwick Stakes (1400m) on Saturday.
The Randwick crowd of 10,688 was treated to a memorable and thrilling return to racing by the world’s best racehorse on turf — but concerns she had a gut-buster to overcome a horror start before getting up in the final two strides were allayed by Waller.
“She has pulled up really well and at this stage I would say she will be back here in two weeks for the Chelmsford,’’ Waller said. “I don’t want her to have four weeks between runs.’’
Winx’s win in the Warwick Stakes didn’t go to plan — but this will be remembered as one of her greatest efforts. The champion mare, very fresh and full of nervous energy, was unsettled in the barrier stalls and came out four lengths behind the field.
Winx remained a clear last until the field swung around the home turn where Bowman took her wide to the centre of the track. She was still spotting the leaders six lengths and her rider, Hugh Bowman, admitted he was concerned the mare’s famous winning streak was about to end.
“I was a bit worried going past the 700m because of the way the track conditions are, they are running really slick times,’’ Bowman said.
“I was thinking it could be mathematically impossible to catch them but there was nothing I could do about that, I just had to rely on the engine that I know is in her.
“I couldn’t take off at the 700m to get closer or I would have run out of gas, so I just had to have confidence in her and ride her to run a race.
“I want her to win as much as anyone else but after what happened coming out of the barriers I had to renegotiate where I was obviously, and it was a concern halfway through but it was a good feeling the last 200m.
“I’m proud of her and I’m proud of everyone involved with her. It’s been such an amazing journey for all of us and judging on what we saw this afternoon we might be in for a few good runs yet.”
Winx ($1.10) mowed down stablemate Foxplay ($20) to win by a half neck with Ecuador ($26) a long head away third.
Waller said Bowman’s coolness under pressure enabled Winx to make it 18 consecutive wins.
“Hugh never panicked. When you put the reins in his hands you know you’ve got the right man aboard,’’ Waller said. “He realised he had to make up a bit of ground and used the full length of the straight to do it.”
Winx’s owners Peter Tighe and Debbie Kepitis both admitted they thought the mare had too much left to do on the home turn.
“They don’t give you these races, you’ve got to come here and earn them,’’ Tighe said.
“She had to pull out all stops and just goes to prove she is something special.
“My heart was missing a few beats up the straight, these are good horses, the opposition are not slow coaches so to do what she did was phenomenal. We love her to bits.”
Kepitis described Winx winning the her father, Bob Ingham sponsored as “phenomenal.’’
“To miss the start and fight back the way she did … you would not have been upset if she had been beaten today,’’ Kepitis said. “She knows where the winning post is. She wants to win. She wants to do it for everyone.’’
Foxplay gave the Waller stable the quinella and Winx’s fans fearing the worst when she dashed to a huge lead.
“She has run a great race,’’ Foxplay’s rider Kerrin McEvoy said. “She’s obviously shown that she has come back in good order and she is in for a great preparation.”
Adam Hyeronimus, rider of Ecuador, came up with arguably the quote of the day after Ecuador; s good third. “It would have been good if she [Winx] missed it by six lengths and Foxplay missed it by one length,’’ he said. – Ray Thomas, The Daily Telegraph.