Star mare Winx produced an astonishing performance to record a historic win in the 2015 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley this afternoon.
Winx was easily the best-backed runner in the lead-up to the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and that support looked justified when she was travelling extremely well at the top of the straight.
Jockey Hugh Bowman produced Winx at the 300 metre mark and she quickly pulled away from her rivals before she extended the gap in the final stages of the race to record one of the most impressive Cox Plate victories in recent history.
An emotional Bowman was clearly delighted to have recorded the first major race win of his outstanding career, but he admitted after the race that he was worried he had hit the front too far from home.
“All I wanted to be when I was a little boy was a jockey,” Bowman said.
“To be here riding on this stage is one thing, but to win a race like this I can’t tell you how much it means.
“I am so thankful to Chris Waller and the connections of the horse, but also to my family and friends that are here and my two little girls at home.
“I just can’t believe it to be honest.
“I drew barrier one and I had a lot of confidence in the mare.
“I was a bit worried coming down this side here because Highland Reel was staying one off and there was a lot of room between me and the leader, which is not ideal, but she is a Group 1 mare and a serious racehorse and she adapted to the awkward position and from the 800 I was very confident.
“At the 600 when The Cleaner rolled off and I went through I didn’t want to be going that early, but sometimes you don’t have choices and you have to take the cards that you are dealt.
“I was on a premium mare that was able to capitalise on the run that I got.
“I didn’t want it for another 200 metres and it was a long way up that straight and it is a very humbling feeling, I am very privileged and very proud.
Waller has dominated Sydney Racing in the last five years and, like Bowman, he now has the only thing that was missing from his incredible resume – a major win.
Waller has always been on the opinion that Winx was a superstar and he was clearly delighted that the talented mare had silenced her doubters in the lead-up to the Australasian Weight-For-Age Championship.
“She is fast and she has just won a Cox Plate,” Waller said.
“She is just a superior athlete, I am not just saying that, just looking at her you can see that she is amazing.
“We obviously have a lot of dream horses, but I don’t even dream about winning Cox Plates.
“There wasn’t really an option from that gate and we turned it into a positive.
“I was more happy with that gate than the other two because you can’t do it at both ends of a Cox Plate or any race.
“She just got a lovely run.
“I could see she was travelling really good and I quickly lost sight of the other two when I saw her coming through them.
“There was a lot of room on the rail and it was terrific.”
Criterion was held up for a run coming around the turn but he was still able to find the line strongly to finish a more than credible second, while Highland Reel battled home to finish third.