Ultimate accolade: Winx named best horse in the world
The final accolade, one which had eluded her until now, was given to Winx in London on Wednesday when she was named as the equal World’s Best Racehorse.
Australia’s wondermare shares the title with English star Cracksman for 2018, on a rating of 130. Winx ran her 130 rating in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick in April. And to top things off, the Queen Elizabeth was named the second best race in the world behind only the Arc De Triomphe.
The Queen Elizabeth, which was made the jewel in the crown of The Championships when it was created six years ago, was one of five Sydney races in the top-20 races in the world. The TJ Smith, which ranked 16th, was the only one of those not won by Winx.
Winx has been unbeaten for more than three years, winning 29 consecutive races, 22 of them at group 1 level. Her trainer, Chris Waller, believes she has been at the top of racing for the past three years.
“I’m sure there might have been a horse in the world that over the past three years that could have beaten her on a given day. That same horse wouldn’t have beaten consistently over that three years,” Waller said. Winx and jockey Hugh Bowman won the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley last October.
“That is what everyone appreciates about Winx – she has been here so long and she is still going just as good as ever.”
Winx finally won the world’s best title after two years in which she had to play second fiddle to US dirt-track hero Arrogate.
Her crowning achievement on the track came when she won an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate last October. But this off-the-track win is a vindication of her immense talent.
Waller remains in awe of Winx’s ability to continually keep her elite level from three until now as a seven-year-old.
Simply the best: Winx cruises away from Benbalt to take her fourth Cox Plate.
She won seven races, all at group 1 level, in 2018 and six of those races were in the top 25 races in the world, including the Cox Plate, the George Ryder Stakes and the Colgate Optic White Stakes, which were all in the top 10.
“Her level is always extremely high,” Waller said. “It is her first-up run. It is her last run of a preparation. It is on a good track. It is on a wet track. It is over a short distance. It is over a long distance.
“She overcomes every obstacle you put in front of her and she beats everything you put in front of her. Maybe, if there was the world’s best horse race on a certain day, it might have broken her heart. But she has beaten everything that has come to race her and she has just beaten them with ease. That is why she has the respect she has around the world and that is why she deserves the title of the world’s best.”
The only challenge Winx didn’t meet was to travel the world, but Waller is content with his decision to keep her in Australia.
“We have travelled her to Melbourne four times and Brisbane once and all of these are 10-hour trips,” he said. “If you train a horse in England, you can be in all other countries except New Zealand and Australia in a shorter time space but we simply don’t have the luxury of doing that.
“Fortunately, everyone is aware of Australian racing, how strong our industry is and the opportunity to race for great prizemoney in Australia.”
Winx has started her final preparation, during which she will farewell Sydney racing, with her first run schedule for the Apollo Stakes at Randwick on February 16.
“It is pretty special as it was the first year when she was crowned world’s best horse on turf and the best mare of the year, and last year when she got the same two awards,” Waller said.
“She wins the big one this year – obviously we have to share it with Cracksman.
“The thing I will always take out of Winx is her longevity. I’m not taking any credit for her talent at all. She is just an exceptional athletic. Obviously, I have a good team that has looked after her very well, but she is just an amazing horse.”