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Unstoppable Winx

Winx highest rated Timeform mare on turf in 2018. Chris Waller trained gets 23 rd consecutive win

Unstoppable Winx

Just when some people were questioning whether Winx was as good as ever, the great mare turned up at Randwick last Saturday with a performance that serves as a reminder that champions can never be underestimated.

Winx strolls home in Chipping Norton Stakes
Winx strolls home in Chipping Norton Stakes Picture:Steve Hart

It is fair to say that 2017 was probably not one of Winx’s best in terms of her rated performances which seems a bizarre thing to say considering she won all nine race starts including six at group one level and a record equalling third Cox Plate.

But there were doubts cast after that Cox Plate victory, some even suggesting she was lucky to hold out a wayward Humidor to win by a long neck – a clear sign some said that the best days for Winx were behind her.


On Saturday however her race rider Hugh Bowman did put some perspective on those performances last preparation particularly when he rightly pointed out that four of her five runs were on quite firm tracks and only one, the Turnbull Stakes was on softer going.

Bowman is adamant that these days Winx Horseform is not quite as happy on firmer ground and her Timeform ratings profile would certainly support Bowman’s assertion.

Last preparation her peak effort came in the Turnbull Stakes when she easily accounted for her rivals running to a Timeform rating of 133 – a pound shy of her 134 master figure earned on a bog track annihilation of the Group one George Ryder Stakes in March.

In her four other runs, Winx ran to 126 (Cox Plate), 123 (George Main Stakes) and 118 in both the Chelmsford and Warwick Stakes where she struggled to beat Red Excitement and Foxplay respectively.

In fact Winx has rated 130 or better five times and all have been on softer tracks.

But whereas Spring racing surfaces can be firm, those in the Autumn are more likely than not, softer and much more to Winx’s liking.

And this is what we saw in the group one Chipping Norton Stakes run over 1600m last Saturday – perfect track conditions for her to showcase just where she was at.

Technically Winx was resuming at 1600m but in reality she had been given a solid barrier trial against stablemates run at Randwick two weeks prior that was as good as a first up run for the mare, so fitness wise she was right on schedule for the assignment.

And despite some questions being raised over the quality of the opposition that included just three other group one winners and just one of those, Prized Icon had won at the 1600m at that level, Winx was at close to her very best annihilating Prized Icon and Classic Uniform.

Winx strolled home by seven lengths to record her 23rd consecutive win, now just two wins short of Black Caviar’s 25 unbeaten winning streak and a record 16th flat group one win equalling US star John Henry’s long standing record.

In assessing the merit of the win, Winx was calculated to run to a Timeform rating of 132+ - her highest ever first or second up run Timeform rating.

The form and ratings profiles of the runners going into the race suggested a rating at this level while historical race standardisation techniques also pointed to a Timeform rating of 131.

And the effort against the clock also stood up, Winx running the highest Timefigure since her 2016 Cox Plate victory.

Sectional time splits suggest Winx was admirably suited by the way the race was run with Bowman being as economical as ever using her energy throughout the race almost to perfection with a finishing sectional 102% of the optimum base.

If sectional mark ups were employed we could make a case that the run was closer to her master 134 figure however for now we have settled on 132+.

Following the race, the usual questions of Royal Ascot were raised and rightly, those decisions remain for another day.

However if she was to go to Royal Ascot, the best race for her would be the group one Queen Anne Stakes up the straight 1600m course.

Of course we remember champion Black Caviar scraping home there in 2012 in one of the most courageous efforts you will ever see on a race course running to a Timeform rating of 123 or 13 pounds below her 136 master figure.

The five year average winning Timeform rating for the Queen Anne is 128. Winx would get a three pound mares allowance which means a male opponent would need to run to 137 (if Winx ran to her master figure) to beat Winx.

Right now there is no male mile galloper in Europe capable of running to that level.

However if Winx ran 13 pounds below her best like Black Caviar Horseform did, then it would only take a male miler with a Timeform rating of 125 to beat her and there is bound to be at least one of those in the field if not more.

So the question to travel Winx is not an easy one to answer as the whole journey for a rising seven-year-old mare would be a total new experience and would test her connections making sure she was going to perform close to her best on a foreign track in a different hemisphere.

It is something that may become clearer after the George Ryder Stakes which is sure to be an intriguing but more testing race.

Racing And Sports




129659
R6 RANDWICK 3 March 2018
Chipping Norton Stakes 3U , 1600m
Race Synopsis: Champion mare Winx, resuming after winning her third successive Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2040m) in October, was simply brilliant yet again in scoring her 23th successive victory and her 16th at Group One level. She was a bit slowly away, raced back in eighth place before moving up deep from the 600m. She cruised to the front at the 200m and then drew away to score effortlessly by seven lengths. She is truly a remarkable thoroughbred. The dual Group One winner Prized Icon raced in fourth place, out one and one back, improved well nearing the home turn, went to second at the 200m and battled on nicely to hold that position after being overwhelmed by the winner. Classic Uniform had a good trip in third place on the rails from his good barrier (2) and kept battling on well to hold the minor placing.

FP
 
Horse
Age & Sex
Trainer
Jockey
WT
SP
 
1st  
7. WINX (AUS)
6yo Mare
CHRIS WALLER
HUGH BOWMAN
57.0
$1.09
 
STREET CRY (IRE) - VEGAS SHOWGIRL (NZ)
Magic Bloodstock Racing (Mgr: P G Tighe), R G Treweeke & Mrs D N Kepitis
Jan 13, 2013 Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Jerry's Plains, $230000, Magic Bloodstock, QLD
 
2nd  
4. PRIZED ICON (AUS)
4yo H
KRIS LEES
GLYN SCHOFIELD
59.0
$16.00
 
MORE THAN READY (USA) - TROPICAL AFFAIR (AUS)
Gooree Stud (Mgr: E M Cojuangco)
Apr 15, 2015 Australian Easter Yearling Sale, Widden Valley NSW, Passed $250,000 Reserve $300,000
 
3rd  
1. CLASSIC UNIFORM (AUS)
5yo Gelding
GARY MOORE
ANDREW ADKINS
59.0
$51.00
 
AL MAHER (AUS) - PYROTECHNICS (AUS)
Glenvallen Investments Pty Ltd Syndicate (Mgr: F L Li)
 Apr 14, 2014 Australian Easter Yearling Sale, Murrurundi NSW, $170000
 
4th  3. LIBRAN (IRE)
7yo Gelding
CHRIS WALLER
BRENTON AVDULLA
59.0
$67.00
5th  5. STAMPEDE (AUS)
5yo H
G WATERHOUSE & A BOTT
TIM CLARK
59.0
$21.00
6th  2. WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)
9yo Gelding
CHRIS WALLER
TYE ANGLAND
59.0
$101.00
7th  8. LASQUETI SPIRIT (AUS)
4yo Mare
L W CURTIS
JAY FORD
57.0
$101.00
8th  9. VINLAND (AUS)
3yo Gelding
TONY MCEVOY
KERRIN MCEVOY
56.0
$67.00
9th  6. JEMADAR (AUS)
4yo Gelding
DAVID PFIEFFER
A HYERONIMUS
59.0
$101.00


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