Winx has made an emphatic return to racing, winning the 16th Group One race of her decorated career.
Winx has eased her way into history to become Australia’s leading Group One winner with a no-fuss seven-length victory in the Chipping Norton Stakes.
Showing no signs of the erratic barrier behaviour which marked her spring campaign. Winx was all business on Saturday as she claimed Group One win No.16, one more than Black Caviar.
After coming out of the gates a little slowly but cleanly, Winx did what Winx does best, moving to the outside of the field at the 600m getting ready to launch her run down the straight.
She gathered up the rest of the field in a flash and she and her jockey Hugh Bowman were in a world of their own.
“It was just her and me in the middle of the track,” Bowman said.
“It’s hard for me to get a sense of how fast she’s going.
“It’s there for everyone to see.”
Winx started the $1.09 favourite and beat the only other horse remotely in the market, $16 chance Prized Icon.
As comfortable as her 23rd consecutive was, for her trainer Chris Waller it was still an emotional return after he and the mare’s owners opted to miss her autumn lead-up run in the Apollo Stakes when Bowman was suspended.
Waller had no concerns about Winx tackling 1600m at her first run since her third Cox Plate win in October.
But he admitted his nerves were on edge.
“The first run is always the hardest,” Waller said.
“You just want to know they’ve come back.
“I can do my job and the staff do theirs but you just want to see it.”
Winx’s place in history is assured and her trainer is aware of her record but also the responsibility that comes with it.
“She is better now than when she was a four-year-old,” he said.
“Not much has changed in the last 12 months. She knows it’s her job, she enjoys her job, she enjoys going home and being another horse.”
Of course she isn’t just another horse anywhere but the Waller stable with the Randwick crowd cheering her around the turn and clapping respectfully as she came down the straight.
“It is a huge privilege to be training her and to see the crowd appreciate her,” Waller said.
While she was in a different realm from her opposition, Glyn Schofield was happy with the performance of dual Group One winner Prized Icon.
“Outside of Winx he’s another Group One winner over a mile,” he said.
Andrew Adkins, who rode Classic Uniform who fnished a half length behind Prized Icon, was thrilled.
“Third in a Group One, that’s pretty good for him,” he said.
“I think he’s probably got a Group One up his sleeve and 2000 metres will be spot-on for him.”