Winx Sets World Record With 23rd Group 1 Victory

Happy Clapper made Chipping Norton Stakes (G1) a contest, but Winx reeled him in.

Superstar mare Winx landed a world-record 23rd group 1 victory with relative ease March 2 in the Tab Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick, surpassing Hurricane Fly’s number of top-flight triumphs.

Winx already held the grade/group 1 mark for horses racing on the flat. The Willie Mullins-trained Hurricane Fly won 22 grade 1 races, all over hurdles, between 2008 and 2015, including the Champion Hurdle twice and all 10 grade 1 races he contested at Leopardstown. However, his incredible number has been dwarfed by Winx. The 8-year-old, sent off a 1-12 favorite, also stretched her unbeaten streak to 31 races.

For a fleeting moment, you could be forgiven if you thought March 2 might be the day the streak would end.

The Chipping Norton Stakes was supposed to be a procession. Another race Winx would dominate, adding to her seemingly endless tally of wins.

She’s rated the equal-best in the world and has proved for the best part of four years that nothing in Australia is up to her standard.

But with Happy Clapper storming to a commanding lead and jockey Blake Shinn daring to dream, there was a moment where it wasn’t ridiculous to think the streak might come to an end. Happy Clapper made it a contest, but Australia’s favorite mare reeled him in.

“She is amazing. Blake really made it a test today, like Josh Parr did on Red Excitement once before, but she can just cover all bases, this mare. She is just an amazing athlete. There (are) no more words to describe her,” jockey Hugh Bowman said.

“I think today when you watch the replay, at the 700-meter mark you would have thought she was out of business. Another jockey may have thought that, but I knew when I balanced up she was going to rally. There was no way Happy Clapper could sustain that speed, and I knew that when she balanced up, she would have the energy required to reel him in.

“And I’ll be honest—although I was pushing her, she was doing it with relative ease. And I think had I struck her, she would have found another couple of lengths for me.

“Blake is one of the few jockeys who will go out there and try and do something different. I actually anticipated he would try and go really slow, and he probably realized he couldn’t win if he did that.

“With a small field, the opposition she is taking on, they are not all the best horses, but the reality is the best horses won’t take her on.”

Winx’s victory in the Chipping Norton Stakes was her fourth consecutively in the race, equaling the great Tie the Knot, who won four straight between 1999 and 2002.