There were some nervous moments for punters and connections, but Winx stamped herself as a champion mare with yet another win in the 2016 Doncaster Mile at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Winx did not show a great deal of early speed and she was settled towards the tail of the field by jockey Hugh Bowman, while Vergara took up the running in the early stages of the race.
Bowman found plenty of trouble in the straight and it looked as though she was going to be blocked for a run, but she was able to get through an extremely tight gap and when she found clear running she raced away from her rivals to record a ninth straight victory from a very game Happy Clapper and Azkadellia.
Bowman admitted that there were some very nervous moments in the run and he revealed that Winx did not feel particularly comfortable on the soft track, but he said her champions instincts kicked in to get her over the line.
“I am just delighted for her,” Bowman said.
“The build-up was really something and I can really understand what people that people who have had other champion racehorses go through.
“The expectation is to win and you have so much confidence in the horse and confidence in yourself too, but it is still horse racing and there are plenty of tales to be told.
“To rely on a horse like this is just unbelievable and it is an absolute honour to be involved with her.
“I’ll be honest, today was the first time in any time that I have ridden her that halfway through the race I was concerned.
“The worn track is racing on the worst side of soft and it has had a fair bit of use.
“She wasn’t overly comfortable in it, so the fact that she wasn’t comfortable and still produced that finish is something that only a horse of champion qualities can do.
“I am elated.”
Trainer Chris Waller was unable to hide his emotions this afternoon and he admitted after the race that with 800 metres left to run he thought Winx was going to get beaten.
Waller was at a loss to explain just what makes Winx so good, but he said that the daughter of Street Cry just has an unbelievable will to win – evidenced by her nine straight victories.
“I’ll call her a champion while I can speak,” Waller said.
“It is pretty unbelievable.
“I thought she was beaten at the half mile, let alone the 200 metre mark and she has an amazing will to win.
“She is not anymore brilliant than any horse we work every day of the work and she is just a horse.”
Winx is expected to back-up in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) next weekend, but Waller will wait until he sees how the champion mare gets through the week before he makes a final decision.