Champion mare Winx sets sail for her 20th win on end in the George Main Stakes.
Her trainer admits it’s getting harder to watch but her jockey has ultimate faith in Winx who has stretched her winning sequence to 20 with victory in the Group One George Main Stakes at Randwick.
As she has in her three starts this campaign, the champion has given away a big start with Chris Waller’s nerves undergoing a work-out while Hugh Bowman has concentrated on keeping her comfortable.
But with the mare almost 10 lengths adrift of the leader Red Excitement at the 600m, Waller wondered if Saturday was the day it would end.
Cool as ever, Bowman tracked Happy Clapper into the straight, gave Winx a tap on the hind quarters and she switched gears to make it look easy at the end of the 1600 metres.
“She is a hard horse to watch,” Waller said.
“The good tracks mean the tempo is different.
“And we should respect Happy Clapper. She beat a very good horse in his own right and we had to fight to get past him.
“It is good to see her top that rise and see her get a bit closer because that was the only stage she looked like winning.”
Instead of immediately taking Winx through the gate to the winner’s stall, Bowman cantered her down to the public stand in front of her legions of fans.
The jockey is as much a part of the Winx story as anyone else and the two have developed a bond, even though he admitted he expected to be a little closer on Saturday.
“I expected to be closer to the speed. The pace was strong and at the top of the straight she had a lot of ground to make up.
“But after her last two performances I knew she could do it. I am just so proud of her.”
As she has in the past, Winx played up a little in the barrier, something Bowman said was just part and parcel of her nature.
“She just gets a bit anxious,” he said.
“She wants to get on with it.
“She jumped OK but was slow into stride, but I was following the right horses in Happy Clapper and Foxplay.
“She is amazing and it’s great to be a part of her.
“Growing up on the farm in Dunedoo, dreaming of being a jockey, dreaming of riding a champion and those dreams are being met in the form of Winx.”
Winx’s 20th consecutive victoey puts her one-up on another daughter of Street Cry, American mare Zenyatta who won her first 19 but was narrowly beaten in her final start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Happy Clapper has firmed from $8 to $5 favouritism for the Epsom Handicap with trainer Pat Webster and owner Michael Thomas thrilled with his performance on the back of his Tramway Stakes win.
“He can’t go much better,” Webster said.
“It’s on to the Epsom.”
Winx’s stablemate Foxplay, who finished second to her in the Warwick Stakes, was third, 4-1/2 lengths behind Happy Clapper.
“She’s terrific,” jockey Brenton Avdulla said.
“Probably almost the best mare in the country because I don’t call Winx a mare.
“She’s a freak.”
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