Champion mare Winx runner up at world’s best racehorse ceremony but retains top turf billing

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THE owners of Winx have plenty to weigh up in the next few months. On top of offers to race the mare in the UAE, Hong Kong and England, the VRC ‘want her to chase a fourth straight Cox Plate.’

WINX co-owner Peter Tighe has vowed to do the right thing by the magnificent mare despite huge international demand for her to race overseas.

The Chris Waller-trained six-year-old has wowed Australian crowds with 22 successive wins and was on Wednesday morning (EDT) named runner-up at the Longines World’s Best Racehorse ceremony in London.

Winx finished with a rating of 132, two points behind US horse Arrogate who retained his crown despite three successive defeats in 2017 thanks to a phenomenal run to win the Dubai World Cup last March.

Waller’s charge once again finished top of the turf rankings ahead of talented UK three-year-old Cracksman trained by John Gosden who finished with a ranking of 130 alongside American Breeders Cup Classic winner Gun Runner.

Winx has plenty of racing options this year.
Winx has plenty of racing options this year.Source:Getty Images

Tighe and Debbie Kepitis, two of Winx’s three owners, were guests at Ascot over the weekend to watch the National Hunt meeting as the course bosses ramped up efforts to convince connections to bring her over for June’s Royal meeting.

Waller said 12 months ago in London that if Winx was to travel over, it would be for at least three months to allow her to assimilate to the northern hemisphere, opening the possibility of featuring in France, Ireland and other high-profile meetings in England.

However, Tighe said it wasn’t just Europe that wants a piece of Winx with Hong Kong and the UAE also in the mix.

“There has been a lot of interest from overseas in addition to the VRC who are also very keen on her running for a fourth Cox Plate,” Tighe said.

“We’ve got a plan mapped out in Sydney for one to four runs, but it depends on how she pulls up and whether she wins.

“Do we come to Ascot or do we keep her in Sydney for the Queen Elizabeth (Stakes)?

“But until we get her back to the level we want her, we are not going to travel the world with her to lose.

“We don’t want to discount her ability by making her race somewhere if she’s not fully fit.”

Winx pulled up without any problems following her barrier trial at Rosehill on Monday morning and will attempt to claim her 23rd victory in the Apollo Stakes at Randwick next month.

She’ll then be aimed at the Chipping Norton Stakes on March 3 followed by the George Ryder Stakes two weeks later at Rosehill.

Arrogate trainer Bob Baffert paid handsome tribute to Winx after he scooped the top award for the third time, having tasted success with American Pharoah in 2015.

“I love Winx, she is a superstar of a horse,” the charismatic American said.

“The only thing to make watching her run better would be a split screen of her and Debbie in the stands. Her reactions when Winx is in full flight is what makes racing great.”