As a reminder of what came before and a portent of things to come, Australia’s best racehorse has put on an awesome display in front of an adoring crowd at Randwick.
Winx cruised to her 10th consecutive win at her first start since the Doncaster Mile in April in Saturday’s Group Two Warwick Stakes.
And while racegoers started cheering halfway down the straight, her trainer Chris Waller quietly gathered himself together after a nervous wait until race seven to try to find the words to describe his feelings.
“It is a relief,” Waller said.
“She is in for a massive preparation. We haven’t been too hard on her and she’s had a couple of soft trials so sometimes it’s hard to tell where they are.
“I thought she was ready but you don’t know until race day.
Punters only wanted one horse in the field of seven with Winx the $1.24 favourite as all the others drifted.
Rebel Dane ($11) took up the running with Hugh Bowman sidling up outside him on Winx.
The pair led into the straight where Winx stepped things up a notch to assume control.
Hartnell ($21) warmed up late to run within 3-1/2 lengths of Winx who was gently guided to the line with Rebel Dane holding down third another three-quarters of a length away.
So comfortable was the mare’s win her part-owner Peter Tighe suggested Bowman might consider not collecting his fee.
“She was just in second gear and he didn’t have to do a lot – Hughie – he might even take a cut in his pay for that,” Tighe said.
And while he might not give back his percentage, Bowman acknowledges just how special Winx is.
“It’s hard not to get carried away with this mare. She really is something special,” he said.
“It’s just an honour to be on her back.
“Rebel Dane couldn’t take me far enough. I don’t think she’s been as quick under me as she was today when I let her go.
“Usually there are horses around me and I’ve got something to run down.
“But today because I had the better of Rebel Dane at the 300 metres it was just me and her.
“When she let down, it was a special feeling and I’m looking forward to feeling it again.”
He is likely to feel it again in two weeks when Winx steps up another 200m to the 1600m of the Chelmsford Stakes which is also the target for Hartnell.
Trainer Gary Portelli is unsure where Rebel Dane’s next assignment lies.
“It was a great ride. We wanted him to get going when he did,” he said.
“I had two philosophies. One was we’d fight the finish out with her and the other was that she’d space us. Unfortunately the reality came true.
“I can’t believe how easily she moved up to Rebel Dane so far out.
“Just a different level of horse. Simple.”