Star mare Winx made a winning return to the races with a typically impressive performance in the 2017 Apollo Stakes at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Winx was slightly slow out of the gate in the Apollo Stakes and Hugh Bowman was forced to settle her in the second half of the field, but she eventually settled in a nice rhythm as Shiraz took up the running.
Bowman got Winx off the rail coming around the bend and she followed Endless Drama into the race before she quickly put paid to her rivals in a few strides.
Hartnell ran on strongly in the final stages of the race, but there was never going to be another winner and Winx cruised to her 14th straight victory in typically arrogant fashion.
Bowman admitted after the race that Winx was left a touch flat-footed when the sprint went on at the top of the straight, but he was never worried and as per usual for full of praise for the star mare.
“She didn’t jump into stride, but she gets a bit fractious in the barriers when she is fresh,” Bowman said.
“As she gets into her prep she gets a bit more relaxed and nervous energy in her.
“It was a genuinely run 1400 – I was very concerned about a really slow pace and we could have found ourselves in a stick position, but with genuine speed I was able to travel really comfortably.
“They left me a little bit flat-footed when the pressure went on at the 600 and if I was on anything else I might have been worried, but I just encouraged her to pick up the ones in front and get the tail of Tye Angland.
“Within the blink of an eye it was all over.
“We have come to have a very healthy respect for her as has everybody that watches her.
“It is a privilege to be a part of it and she is great for our industry.”
Trainer Chris Waller is always incredibly nervous when Winx appears at the races and today was no different, with the leading trainer once again expressing his relief that the daughter of Street Cry had extended her winning streak in the Apollo Stakes.
Waller was quick to pay credit to the cool ride of Bowman and he confirmed that the two-time Cox Plate winner would have her next race start in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
“It is a very humbling experience to say the least and it is a huge privilege to be a part of her career,” Waller said.
“I don’t think that it would matter who trains her.
“Hugh just does a fantastic job and he is the mister cool that makes it look easy.
“It is not that easy – there is a field of 14 horses that are half a tonne animals and they don’t have the same acceleration or brakes that a car has.
“He has to maneuverer her, get her out at the right time and let her unleash.
“He just does an amazing job.
“She is no faster than any other horse on the training track.
“We are just making sure that she is safe and has a proper preparation like she had done.
“There will be a day when it is not quiet there and there may be another champion come along and take her mantle.
“We are prepared for that and we are certainly enjoying it while it lasts.”
Hartnell lost no admirers with his second place finish as he chased the star mare home, while Endless Drama looks on track for a big campaign after finishing a brave third.