John Sargent, who trained the last horse to beat Winx, will be on hand to watch her at Randwick.
John Sargent is almost infamous.
The trainer of the last horse to beat Winx in a race – Gust Of Wind in the 2015 Australian Oaks – his link to the champion has become somewhat of a claim to fame.
“It comes up now and then at parties and things,” Sargent said.
“People keep saying, ‘oh you’re the trainer that was the last one to beat Winx’.”
The fact that Winx was last beaten almost four years ago is testament not only to her remarkable 29-race winning streak, but her longevity in a sport that often retires its best horses before they have peaked on the racetrack.
Sargent has been training for 30 years and has followed racing for even longer.
It has taken him around the world and he has enjoyed success at the highest level in New Zealand, Malaysia and Australia.
He fondly recalls the world-class champions of yesteryear, including the famed American racehorse Secretariat, but he says none is better than Winx.
“In my younger days, I worked at Newmarket and saw Dancing Brave and Mill Reef and all those good ones,” Sargent said.
“I followed Secretariat, he went around America and won the Triple Crown and that was probably the last horse I thought was good.
“But no-one compares to Winx.”
Gust Of Wind was one of the unluckiest runners in the 2015 Melbourne Cup when Frankie Dettori on Max Dynamite caused interference in the straight and she finished sixth.
She has since become a broodmare and has a Snitzel colt at foot.
Sargent won’t saddle up a runner against Winx when she returns for her final campaign at Randwick on Saturday but he will have three horses competing at the meeting.
He is looking forward to watching the champion attempt to stretch her unbeaten sequence to 30 in the Apollo Stakes and, following the recent scandals that have rocked the industry, being reminded of the reasons racing can also be wonderful.
“The greatest advertising for racing is having a champion,” Sargent said.
And keeping his mantle as the trainer of the last horse to beat Winx won’t hurt either.