Might mare Winx set for at least one more preparation after Cox Plate

Source: Ray Thomas, The Daily Telegraph

DEBBIE Kepitis maintains there has been no consideration given to retiring champion mare Winx if she wins an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate later this month.

There has been suggestions that the Cox Plate could be Winx’s final race start but Kepitis, who part-owns Winx with Richard Treweeke and Peter Tighe, dismissed the speculation.

“There has been no retirement talk, definitely not,’’ Kepitis said yesterday.

“If all goes well, Winx will run in the Cox Plate, she will definitely go for a spell and then we will see how she is (next autumn),

“As Chris (Waller) keeps saying, she is racing so well you would be doing her a disservice by retiring her. She is enjoying it and wants to race.’’

Winx extended her phenomenal winning streak to 28 and took out her 21st Group 1 win in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington last Saturday.

Sydney’s super mare is racing as well as ever as evidenced by her memorable Turnbull Stakes triumph, her ninth successive Group 1 win.

Winx seemed to be in trouble back near last on the inside coming to the turn but was able to reel off three successive sub-11s 200m sectional splits from the 600m to the finish to power past her rivals and ultimately win the Turnbull with relative ease.


Kepitis admitted it was “heart-in-the-mouth stuff” watching Winx’s race.

“Once she got through (the gap) it was all good,’’ she said.

“But the day felt different from the moment I woke up (Saturday) morning. It worried me, it concerned me all day although everything was OK in the end.

“There was amazing reception for her after the race with so many people rushing to the fence to get as close as they could to Winx. It was sensational.’’

Kepitis, Tighe and Waller are teaming up again for the $13 million The TAB Everest on Saturday as slot-holders with Brave Smash.

The Darren Weir-trained Brave Smash ran third in the inaugural Everest behind Redzel last year but seems to be going better this spring including his last start second to Viddora in the Group 1 Moir Stakes.

“I think we have made a good decision going with Brave Smash,’’ Kepitis said.

“We have watched his races very closely this spring and it has been a great journey so far. To have Hugh Bowman riding for us is a big help, too.

“Although we don’t own Brave Smash we feel so invested in it. This is not so much a money thing, but the race it takes your heart so you feel a part of it.

“We had Deploy run for us in The Everest last year and it was an unbelievable day. I can’t wait for Saturday.’’


HARRY Pearce, the venerable harness racing expert, reminded me that Winx will be out to equal another legendary Australian racehorse, San Simeon’s winning streak when she lines up in the Cox Plate.

San Simeon was a champion pacer who won his first 29 starts before he was beaten by Michael Frost in a heat of the Hobart Inter Dominion Series in 1981. San Simeon bounced back to win the Inter Dominion Final.


HUGH Bowman, Winx’s regular jockey, has picked up the ride on Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien’s top stayer, Cliffs Of Moher, in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 20.

James McDonald has missed out on an Everest ride but he has picked up an outstanding book of rides at Caulfield on Saturday including The Autumn Sun (Caulfield Guineas), Smart Melody (Thousand Guineas) and D’Argento (Caulfield Stakes).