Jockey Hugh Bowman has played his role in Winx’s farewell only to get a split lip for his troubles.
Winx has shown her appreciation for the jockey who has guided her to 25 Group One wins by giving him a split lip.
After Hugh Bowman unsaddled the mare following her final race and final win in Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick, she threw her head up and collected him in the mouth.
She was quickly forgiven, with Bowman eager to talk about the horse of a lifetime who retires with 37 wins, 33 in succession, 25 at Group One level and the title of the world’s best.
Unbeaten since she ran second on the corresponding day four years ago, Winx has given Bowman a world-renowned profile and many memories.
“We came here as confident as we’ve ever been,” Bowman said.
“What a journey it’s been. It’s hard to believe it’s the end, actually.
“It’s going to be nice having my life back.
“Having a young family and such a supportive family, it’s kept everything very real for me.
“Having children certainly keeps everything in perspective.
“The last 12 months there’s been a few things that have happened that also keep things in perspective.
“Our good friend (jockey) Pat Smullen was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about 18 months ago and he’s in a good place at the moment but I’ve known three or four other friends that have died from the disease since then.
“And Christine’s brother Robert, took his own life in May last year and that was very hard for us all. It keeps things in perspective.”
Bowman’s wife Christine and his children Bambi and Paige, keep the jockey grounded.
More sobering was the presence of jockey Tye Angland at Randwick, four months after suffered spinal injuries in a fall in Hong Kong which have left him a quadriplegic.
“I’m so glad Tye Angland could make it here today,” Bowman said.
“He used to sit beside me at Warwick Farm and I think so much about him.
“For me, that’s where I get strength from and to be in a position to ride such an amazing horse is a great feeling and I feel the emotion.
“But at the end of the day she’s just a horse. I think what’s happened in my life over the last 18 months has helped me keep things in perspective.”