Chris Waller has stopped short of calling Winx a champion, but the Rosehill crowd has voiced its own opinion.
The mare returned to the winners’ stall for the eighth successive time to the cheers of Saturday’s racegoers who got the George Ryder Stakes as an entree to the Golden Slipper.
In her latest and fifth Group One triumph, Winx exhibited her champion qualities by destroying a quality field with her customary finish.
Jockey Hugh Bowman was forced to send Winx forward after she was trapped wide in the early stages.
She raced outside First Seal before showing the electrifying finish which has become her trademark.
Bowman said he enjoyed a moment of sweet solitude with the mare as she pulled away from stablemate Kermadec in the straight.
“We left him in the last 100 metres, then it was just me and her and that was ever so sweet,” Bowman said.
As Bowman returned to scale after winning his 50th Group One, the crowd cheered as Winx’s connections wept with joy.
But while racing is ready to call her a champion, at least for this season, trainer Chris Waller still stops short.
“She has to win two Cox Plates and a Queen Elizabeth first,” Waller said.
With her winning streak on the line each time she competes, Waller said bringing Winx to the races was a pressure he couldn’t explain.
“It hasn’t sunk in today,” he said.
“It’s a different kind of pressure from any other horse.”
Waller has not ruled out a tilt at the Doncaster Mile followed by a one-week back-up into the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
“I’ll think about the Doncaster. Obviously the Queen Elizabeth is the race we have set her for from the start of the carnival. But you can’t ignore a three-million-dollar race the week before,” Waller said.
Winx firmed to $2.30 favourite for the Doncaster and is $1.60 for the Queen Elizabeth.
The Waller-trained Press Statement finished behind Winx and Kermadec in Saturday’s race to give the trainer the trifecta in his 13th Group One win of the season.
“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,” Waller said.
That competition, as well as an awkward gate, had made Bowman more apprehensive about the mares chances before the race.
But after piloting her to victory, all doubt was erased.
“That is what a horse that is better than the rest can do,” Bowman said.