She has been unbeatable on the track for more than three years and it seems only the Longines World’s Best Racehorse committee have been able to find a way to get the better of Winx since her 29-run winning streak began.
Winx has been the best-rated horse in Australia for 2015-16-17 and was rated in the top three in the world for 2016-17. She has been the best horse on turf in those two years but has never been given the top honour.
That should change at the Longines World’s Best Racehorse ceremony in London on Wednesday.
The latest rankings have Winx and English middle-distance star Cracksman on a rating of 130 and, if there are no adjustments, they should share the award.
The award recognises the best performance of the year and has proved controversial in the past. American galloper Arrogate won the award in 2017 for his win in the Dubai World Cup before being beaten in his next three starts and retired.
It should be an award for continued excellence and, in that category, Winx is unequalled. Her 29-race winning streak is the best in modern times and her seven group 1s in 2018 simply remarkable.
Sea The Stars won six group 1s in 2009 when he was named the world’s best. Winx outstripped that record with wins in the Chipping Norton Stakes, George Ryder Stakes, Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Winx Stakes, Colgate Optic White Stakes, Turnbull Stakes and Cox Plate at the top level.
Winx’s trainer, Chris Waller, and connections Debbie Kepitis, Peter Tighe and a representative of Richard Treweeke, will be in London for the awards on Wednesday.
Winx took out the 2018 Secretariat Vox Populi award for the world’s most popular racehorse last year. Fans from more than 60 countries voted online in the annual award.
“For a horse from out of America to win an award here, it’s very special and it’s not lost on us,” Kepitis said after receiving the award last week.
“She’s an amazing equine athlete and we are just fortunate to be watching and to be part of this phenomenal magic carpet.”
Winx is set for a farewell campaign and she started her build-up for a return to the track with a barrier trial on Tuesday. Trainer Chris Waller admits he is looking for any sign that, as a seven-year-old, Winx is starting to lose her edge.
“If anything, she looks better than we have had her at the stage before. She is fantastic,” Waller said. “She has been a little charged up . . . and if anything, that is a positive. It is just showing she is enjoying herself and not giving any signs of stress about her.
“It is just like last preparation: it is one race at a time. We won’t say when the end is. We are focused on the Apollo Stakes in the middle of February at the moment.
“Providing Hugh is happy, the owners are happy, and the obvious signs are there that she can progress to a second, a third and maybe a fourth start, we will take it as it comes. We stress that it is one race at a time, more so than any time before.”
Winx is set to return in the Apollo Stakes at Randwick on February 16. The Chipping Norton Stakes, George Ryder Stakes and Queen Elizabeth Stakes are to follow. – Chris Roots, Sydney Morning Herald