Winx dominant in George Ryder Stakes

Winx proved that she is Australia’s best horse currently racing with a brilliant win in the $1m, Group 1 WFA China Horse Club George Ryder Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on Saturday, in a finish that saw Chris Waller trained runners the first three across the line, and the eighth black type win in succession for the mare.

But it was Winx who was the dominant winner over a class field of black type winners befitting this race with jockey Hugh Bowman masterly in his control of the mare’s racing power.

Winx and Bowman were caught three wide but Bowman took matters into hand and slid the mare forward so the she was in third tracking Turn Me Loose and First Seal. On the turn for the main straight Bowman had Winx three wide and the mare was cruising up to level at the 400m.

Without moving Bowman had Winx with a slight lead at the 300m racing in the middle of the track and then he let her loose with 225m to run. Her turn of foot immediately put a margin on the field and the only challenge from that point was from Kermadec (NZ) and Zac Purton who had taking the rails path.

Winx, however, was storming away to the line with the crowd roaring approval and she won with 1 1/2L in hand for a comprehensive victory.

Kermadec (Teofilo) and Purton were well clear of three-year-old Press Statement (Hinchinbrook) and McDonald with the margin 1 3/4L. First Seal was fourth and Happy Clapper fifth.

The time was 1.28.70 on the Good 4 track with the final 600m in 33.93. Winx covered the final 200m in 11.18 over Kermadec’s 11.35 with their respective 400m to 200m times 10.89 and 10.81.

Winx had been the favourite from the moment markets opened for the George Ryder and she did not give her supporters a moment’s worry returning $1.90 on both fixed odds and the tote.

Markets with for the Group 1 The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 2nd and the Group 1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 9th had Winx first firm for the Doncaster Mile from $8.00 into $2.80 although she may not run, and second, firm from $1.90 into $1.60 for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

“Very special, it looked awkward early but Hugh (Bowman) made it look easy he got into a beautiful position and found a nice rhythm,” said Waller.

“She ambled up to them turning for home which is always a good sign but it’s hard when you are trying to put away a field like today, a field of superstars, First Seal came up with her and I thought oh well there’s your challenge today, First Seal has beaten us every other time, but today she was just dominant.

“It has not sunk in today and probably it’s a horse you look back on and really get a lot from. It surprises me beating horses like Press Statement and Kermadec they are dead-set superstars in their own right and she has beaten them pretty easily.

“We will think about the Doncaster, obviously the Queen Elizabeth is the race we set her for from the start of the carnival but you cannot ignore a $3m race the week before obviously is softens her up a little bit for the Queen Elizabeth, but I have respect for Sunline’s, More Joyous’ and Super Imposes’ who carry the big weights in particular the two mares and they have done it, Winx can do it,” said Waller.

“I won my first Group 1 in Sydney in this race for Guy Walter (Court’s In Session),” said Waller.

“A few years ago I came here on Racing To Win and Weekend Hussler came up. Weekend Hussler was going ever so well and I thought we’ll see how good this Melbournian is today.

“Racing To Win ran his best and Weekend Hussler was too good.

“To come here on a mare like this today. It is one of the best races in the country just because of the field it attracts every year.

“It is a genuine world class Group 1 event. She showed her dominance here this afternoon and it is just an honour to be a part of it.

“I was a little bit more apprehensive today than recent starts just because of the draw and the setup of the race. That is what a horse that is better than the rest can do, you can make a bit of use of them in two spots.

“I had to do that to get my position in the early part. She showed her dominance the last 200m. I was surprised when I think it was Hucklebuck (Kermadec) came with me up the rail.

“I was surprised he sprinted with me up the rail, but she left him in her wake the last 100m and it was just me and her and it was ever so sweet.”

“We have come to expect it. I certainly feel as though it is up to me to put her in the right spot.

“I know she is going to deliver, but I still need to put her in a position where she can. So far I have been able to do that,” he said.

Winx, a four-year-old mare by Street Cry out of the Al Akbar mare Vegas Showgirl, now has the record of 12 wins from 18 starts and with three second places she has earned stakes of $4,746,925 for her owners Peter Tighe’s Magic Bloodstock Racing, RG Treweeke and Debbie Kapitis.

What the beaten jockeys said:

Opie Bosson (Turn Me Loose): “He just overraced the whole way and just didn’t come back underneath me, he was pretty much gone from the turn.”

Zac Purton (Kermadec): “It was a great run he came through like he was going to go through with it, when he pulled up he was having a really big blow so I think he just needed it, he come on along from that and will be better next time.”

Dom Tourneur (Hucklebuck): “Got onto the mares back on the corner but that was about as close as I got, they had an extra gear on him.”

Brenton Avdulla (Happy Clapper): “I’m happy with the way he is progressing, the grand final is in two weeks’ time and he probably drops 9kg into it, so I’m happy with him.”

Blake Shinn (First Seal): “She ran well I think it was a great Doncaster run, she drops from WFA to 54kg. The three horses that beat her home are exceptional top class horses. She sat second and carted the rest which didn’t suit her.

Craig Williams (Tinto): “What a race! I got on the back of Winx and just couldn’t sustain that type of run. Tinto ran really well for a horse that looks to be now targeted for the Queen Of The Turf. That type of run against that sort of field should leave her in pretty good stead.”

James McDonald (Press Statement): “Yeah he went good, just two very good horses went past him but he ran out of his skin.”