Chris Waller may have the best horse in the world in Winx but the champion mare also has the best jockey in the world in Hugh Bowman.
“Great horses have great associations with jockeys – Vo Rogue and Cyril Small, Kingston Town and Malcolm Johnston, Tom Queally and Frankel, Luke Nolen and Black Caviar,” Waller said.
“You can’t have a horse like Winx without having a Hugh Bowman.
“He is so important and we just saw why.”
Once again Winx was tested in Saturday’s Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick. More than tested – stretched – but the result was the same as had been for her last 18 runs – victory.
Winx had to chase Red Excitement all the way.
“I was looking at the leader at the halfway point thinking, ‘You need to get going’, but I don’t need to worry about that because Hugh knew,” Waller said.
“He takes chance out of the equation.”
This was a Bowman masterpiece as much as another show of the incredible engine of Winx.
“That’s why he is the best,” owner Peter Tighe said. “And she is as well.”
Bowman’s timing and belief in Winx shone as he picked off runaway leader Red Excitement in final 50m and did it without his whip from the 250m. In the end the margin was a length, even as Bowman sat up, which looks comfortable on paper.
This was a real race in front 9103 punters.
“I was more worried this week than last time,” Bowman admitted.
Red Excitement got running with Josh Parr carting along in solid sectionals. He was a dozen lengths in front of Winx, who was midfield at 800m when Bowman made his move to put her into the race.
It was still 10 lengths at the 600m, then six lengths on the turn, three lengths at 200m, and two lengths at 100m.
Bowman got the chase just right.
“I knew I had to get going early because that horse was going to come back,” Bowman said. “I went before I wanted to because if I didn’t the race would have been over before the turn.
“Real good horses wouldn’t have won. She is much better than that – she’s just incredible.
“She shouldn’t have won.
“When I got going before the 800m I look up and thought, ‘Jeez, that is a long way to make up’. Still on the turn I was thinking I had a lot to do. Hell, I had a lot to do at 200m.”
Bowman didn’t have the whip to throw back, which he said “wasn’t ideal, like the barrier last time”.
Red Excitement’s trainer Gerald Ryan nearly pulled off the coup, but he was proud of his eight-year-old.
“I was watching her as much as I was watching him. He has gone terrific, I don’t think there is another horse in the world that could have run him down.”
Parr added: “I thought I had pulled it off. He is in such great form at the moment. He deserves a big win. Today he has just run into possibly the greatest ever.”
Winx joined another daughter of Street Cry, American star Zenyatta, with a winning streak of 19, alongside Gloaming and Desert Gold from Australia.
Waller said Winx would look for her first group 1 of the preparation in the George Main Stakes in a fortnight, provided she came through the effort well.
“We want to get a group 1 on the way this prep and work out where we go from there,” he said.
“We just have to gauge each run. Are they tough runs?
“First time she missed by four or five [out of the barriers], today she had to chase but she did pull up well after her first run so I hope it is the same this time.” –