As Winx made her move, the crowd went with her – as did millions more watching around the nation.
This was the moment. The champion mare was racing for history and she wasn’t about to let anyone down.
Winx fever had gripped race fans all week and the huge Royal Randwick crowd was willing her home in the Group 1 $4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Saturday.
The raucous cheering reached a crescendo as Winx took the lead 200m out. She was racing clear. Victory was hers.
Winx’s owners embraced, overcome with emotion. Trainer Chris Waller could barely speak. Grown men were in tears.
There was a famous Winston Churchill quote when he said: “History will be kind to me because I intend to write it.’’
In a sense, this applies to Winx. History will be kind to the great mare because she has written it.
Winx ran right away with the Queen Elizabeth Stakes — the margin was nearly four lengths on the line but who cares. She had won again.
“It’s hard to find the right words but that was very special, there was an arrogance about it,’’ Waller said. “She keeps lifting for the big occasions.’’
Winx settled last in the 10-horse field, jockey Hugh Bowman content to spot the rest of the field a start. At the 600m, he took the great mare to the outside of the field with clear galloping room.
Bowman only needed to use his whip once in the straight. Winx did the rest.
Waller said he wasn’t concerned at any stage of the race and got the opportunity to enjoy the moment as Winx sprinted past Gailo Chop half-way down the straight.
“When we were back last I knew we would be OK,’’ Waller said. “I just didn’t want something taking off at the 1000m or if we lost sight of the leader.
“But Hughie knows this mare so well, he knows when to make his run and so does she. Winx is a very dominant horse under pressure. It’s only in those pressure scenarios that we see the best from her.
“You can only get the best out of her when she’s running against the best.”
Winx might be a rising seven-year-old mare but it could be argued she has never gone better.
The bookies took some risks with Winx who eased out to $1.24 favouritism on track but she romped home nearly four lengths clear of Gailo Chop ($21) with Happy Clapper ($11) running another brave race for third.
Winx’s legend grows with every win and the record books continue to be re-written. The highlights of the champion mare’s win included:
HER 25th consecutive win to equal Black Caviar’s record.
THIS was her 18th Group 1 win — a world record.
SHE took her career earnings to an all-time record of $18,998,439.
BECOMES the first mare to win successive Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Bowman produced another nerveless, tactically perfect ride on Winx but the jockey deflected all the praise to the great mare.
“The bottom line is she’s got 10-12 lengths on her rivals, it makes it easy for me,’’ Bowman said.
“I know I’ve got the engine to round them up. She’s just an exceptional athlete.
“There’s so many cogs to the wheel and I know I get the dream ride here today, god forbid if something went wrong it wouldn’t be a good place to be, but she’s so exceptional, she is able to overcome everything and what a pleasure she is for sport.
“She creates so much attention, I’m just so elated, I’m so proud of her and I’m just so proud to be a part of it.”
Waller was then asked what the future holds for Winx and whether retirement was a consideration to which the trainer replied: “For me or for Winx?”
“I’m good for a few more season and she can follow me for a little bit longer,’’ Waller said.
Winx had done it. There are moments in life that are etched in the memory forever.
The day Winx won the Queen Elizabeth Stakes is one of them.
WINX AND BLACK CAVIAR
6YO, bay mare
Street Cry (Ire) — Vegas Showgirl (NZ)
35 starts 29 wins 3 seconds 0 thirds
25 wins in succession.
17 Group 1 wins, 26 Group or listed wins
Trainer: Chris Waller
Jockeys: Hugh Bowman (25), Jason Collett (5), Tommy Berry (2), James McDonald (1), Larry Cassidy (1), Joao Moriera (1)
Biggest winning margin: 8 lengths (2016 Cox Plate)
Winning distances: 1100, (1), 1200m (1), 1300m (1), 1400m (5), 1500 (4), 1600m (9), 2000 (4), 2040 (3), 2200m (1)\
First start: WON, 2YO race, Warwick Farm, June 2014
11YO, brown mare
Bel Esprit — Helsinge
25 starts 25 wins
15 Group 1 wins, 24 Group or listed wins
Trainer: Peter Moody
Jockeys: Luke Nolen (22), Jarrad Noske (2), Ben Melham (1)
Biggest winning margin: 6 lengths (twice, 2009 Blue Sapphire and 2011 Schweppes Stakes)
Winning distances: 1000m (6), 1200m (18), 1400m (1)
First start: WON, 2YO race at Flemington, April 2009
Last start: WON, TJ Smith Group 1, Randwick, April 2013
AUSTRALIA’S ALL-TIME LEADING PRIZEMONEY EARNERS
1 Winx $18,988,430
2 Makybe Diva $14,526,690
3 Sunline $11,351,610
4 Northerly $9,341,850
5 So You Think $8,813,497
6 Chautauqua $8,776,935
7 Redzel $8,221,750
8 Black Caviar $7,953,936
9 Buffering $7,300,190
10 Criterion $7,268,869
MOST GROUP 1 WINS
1 Winx 18
2 Black Caviar 15
3 Kingston Town 14
4 Sunline 13
4 Tie The Knot 13
6 Manikato 11
6 Lonhro 11
6 Rough Habit 11
9 Octagonal 10
10 Northerly 9
WORLD GROUP 1 RECORDS
15 Black Caviar
14 Kingston Town, Affirmed, Goldikova
13 Bayakoa, Spectacular Bid, Sunline, Tie The Knot, Zenyatta
25 Black Caviar, Winx
19 Gloaming, Desert Gold
15 Bernborough, Carbine
14 Phar Lap
12 Tulloch, Firestick
11 Kingston Town, Eurythmic, Beau Livre, Somerset Fair, Barakey