She won again, but is Winx ok?

Tristan Rayner Editor

By , Tristan Rayner is a Roar Editor

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    Will Winx secure her third Cox Plate in a row? (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

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    Winx won her 19th consecutive race, taking out the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in yet another come from behind victory, leaving it very late again. She’s being asked for supreme efforts, and it’s a worry.

    Her performance was enough to win, working home brilliantly again over the final 800m to run down eight-year-old gelding Red Excitement.

    The exciting thing is that we’re getting to see Winx taken on by her rivals. Black Caviar had the mighty Hay List serve it up to her, but she was rarely given a hard time. Winx is being given a hard time, and fair enough!

    Josh Parr on Red Excitement gave the old boy one of the best rides we’ll see. At the same time, Winx’s jockey Hugh Bowman let it happen. Bowman is arguably Australia’s best rider, but not an imperfect one. He lost touch, sitting behind Sense Of Occasion.

    The problem is Red Excitement either lifted far beyond his best ever performance, probably when he won the Group 3 Summer Stakes over 2000m, or Winx is now beatable.

    I’m not on the fence about her performances, but I’m just a bit worried for her. Suddenly the great mare looks vulnerable.

    She’s run in two odd races now – missing the start famously in the Warwick Stakes to amazingly get home. She reared and missed the start. Bowman was nearly thrown off. She was first-up, not nearly at her best. And she ran down a quality field coming home with the breeze to scorch the track for her fans.

    Cam Rose’s piece on what it was like to be in a throng of punters cheering her on gave me goosebumps. It was a gut-buster!

    The Chelmsford was different. Another great win The clock said she ran her last 600m in 33.1 seconds, some 0.85 seconds or around 4.5 lengths superior to Antonio Giuseppe, the speediest finisher of her 11 rivals. Her last 200m was in 10.8s. That’s flying, and still not at her peak, nor her grand final and she wasn’t even pushed out to the line once she scooped up Red Excitement.

    Bowman, after the race, said he was worried this time around.

    “At the top of the straight I wasn’t worried last start but today I really was. What she did today was incredible, I mean everything she does in incredible, but I’m lost for words.”

    Trainer Chris Waller said he’s looking to now skip a race as they head towards a third Cox Plate in-a-row, although she should line up in the George Main.

    “They turned the race on, tried to break us up,” Waller said.

    “It’s never what you like to see when you’ve got a horse like her chasing like that but fair play to them, [Red Excitement] did run second and not fall out and run last.

    “It just proves she’s at her best and pretty hard to beat.

    “We’ll go to the George Main now and then reassess. I want to skip a race somewhere.”

    We’re very fortunate to be seeing Winx at her prime. After the George Main and hopefully her 20th straight win, she’ll be rock hard fit heading to the Cox Plate. It’s great for racing – let’s just hope she hasn’t gone too hard, too early in her prep.

    Tristan Rayner
    Tristan Rayner

    Tristan is a writer, consultant, racing enthusiast and former Editor of The Roar who has turned the Melbourne Cup into a year-round study via racingtalk.com.au.

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