Thrilling display from Winx in Chipping Norton Stakes
In a thrilling display of power galloping Winx swept past the field to win the $600,000, Group 1 WFA Air Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday to record her seventh black type victory in succession and surely take the mantle as Australia’s best racehorse.
The Randwick crowd applauded and whistled their appreciation for Winx’s effort and welcomed her back to scale with the knowledge they had seen something special.
At the top of the main straight Magic Hurricane (IRE) and William Buick lead the field at a good clip followed by Dibayani (IRE) and Blake Shinn with Hartnell (GB) and James McDonald next. On the outside of the field Bowman had started to slide Winx forward from the 700m from a position that was worse than mid-field.
Cornering four wide Winx was up to the leaders as they reached the hill and then she was leading outside Dibayani with Bowman not moving on the mare.
These two moved away from the field and Dibayani tried very hard to respond to the mare on his outside and he was close for a few strides. But once Bowman, riding hands and heels for the entire trip, clicked Winx up she left Dibayani behind racing off to the line with the margin 1 1/2L.
Dibayani (Shamardal) was clear of Hauraki (Reset) and Sam Clipperton in third, the margin 1L, with Preferment (NZ) fourth and Hartnell fifth.
The time was 1.33.92 on the Good 3 track with the final 600m in 34.22. Winx as the favourite the moment the markets opened on Wednesday with multiple wagers at $1.40 and one at $18,000 at $1.35. She paid $1.30 on the tote.
“It is hard to explain. Just an absolute pleasure,” said Waller.
“You get used to having favourites on a Saturday or favourites in a Group 1 race but you don’t have $1.30 favourites in Group 1 races. People must be putting serious money on to get her to that price.
“I believe they would have their hearts in their mouths with 200m to run like I did. Do we just dream of horses like her, it’s great for Australian racing.”
“As I say week in week out, not just Group 1 days, it is 52 weeks a year here in Sydney we have fantastic racing. I think it sets a high benchmark for any big stable. It is the best place – the professionalism is outstanding.
“Not too sure (where next). We will see what Hugh says, see how she pulls up. I do not want to run her over 2000m until the Queen Elizabeth so I doubt she will run in the Ranvet.
“I can change our mind. We will keep it open but that is unlikely. So it is going to be the George Ryder or the Emancipation. You can do anything with her.
“She went three weeks into a Cox Plate. She only had three runs into a Cox Plate. So anything’s possible with a horse like her,” he said.
“It is a pleasure to say the least,” said Bowman.
“When the gates opened, she was a bit fractious today with the warmer weather. She was good last start. She is very competitive and wants to get on with it.
“When she jumped it took her a little while for her to know she was in the race so we settled further back than anticipated.
“The thing about a horse like this is you can rely on their turn of speed when you need to. She has won from all places now and it is just a pleasure to be part of her.
“I didn’t want to be following the horse I was following into the race. When the pace steadied down the side I was happy enough to get her out. She got herself into gear, I didn’t ask her to go. She just put herself into the race. She is a dream to ride, she is the perfect woman.
“I have said to the owners, and said to Chris, that I have ridden horses who are stronger and horses who are better movers, but I have never ridden a horse who can sustain a top speed like this mare. She is so exciting, and like I said, it is a privilege,” he said.
Winx, a four-year-old mare by Street Cry out of the Al Akbar mare Vegas Showgirl (NZ), has now won four Group 1’s in her 11 overall wins. With three second places she has earned stakes of $4.1m for owners Debbie Kapitis, Peter Tighe’s Magic Bloodstock and RG Treweeke.
What the beaten jockeys said:
Kerrin McEvoy (Mongolian Khan): “He ran well, just needs the extra trip now. Good first up run after the colic.”
Tommy Berry (Preferment): “Super run. He travelled really well a bit closer to the speed today and finished off enormous.”
James McDonald (Hartnell): “I was thrilled with him, his whole demeanour this prep is a lot better than last prep.”
Christian Reith (Who Shot Thebarman): “Much better today, hit the line stronger so up in trip he’ll go much better.”
William Buick (Magic Hurricane): “He took them along for a little bit and then weakened.”
Jason Collett (Grand Marshal): “Not too bad for a stayer. Keep moving his way up he’ll start getting more competitive.”
Blake Shinn (Dibayani): “Brave in defeat, just ran into a champion.”
Sam Clipperton (Hauraki): “That was a bit of a thrill. He couldn’t have gone any better. Carted Winks up and hit the line strongly so watch out for Hauraki over a bit of a trip.”
Damian Browne (Centre Pivot): “Ran super, back in a handicap will be competitive.”
Tye Angland (Storm The Stars): “Really good run. Obviously his first run in Australia, ticks all the boxes for mine.”
Brenton Avdulla (Gust Of Wind): “I would have probably liked to have seen her finish off a little bit better.”