The best racing win of 2017

Tristan Rayner Editor

By Tristan Rayner, Tristan Rayner is a Roar Editor

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10 Have your say

    The end of year look backs are starting, and I want to kick things off by asking, what was the best thoroughbred performance of the year?

    All year: Winx
    No surprises here! Winx dominated the year that was with nine more wins, including six at the highest level, to keep her incredible and fabulous unbeaten streak to 22 races in a row.

    Her autumn wins, in the George Ryder and Queen Elizabeth, were dominant. In her return in the spring, her individual performances weren’t as impressive as we’re used to seeing until the Turnbull Stakes.

    The start of her early spring campaign was a heart stopper, when she went frighteningly close to coming undone, with two incredibly close finishes.

    First-up she took the Warwick Stakes by just over a head, right on the line, after jumping a mile last, when most reasonably thought it was beyond her.

    She then gunned down Red Excitement in the Chemlsford Stakes, who was given a great ride by Josh Parr, in another thrilling finish.

    But given that those races were against some inferior grades, you’d have to say her best performance of 2017 was in the Cox Plate, where she held off a sustained challenge from Humidor to put together her equal-record third victory in Australasia’s premier race.

    She Will Reign – Moir Stakes
    This Group 1 win under lights was fabulous – She Will Reign’s first race since taking out the Golden Slipper, flying through the field from the back, and widest on the turn, to grab the field and hold off a flying Viddora, who later franked the form with a good performance in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes, and winning the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot.

    Golden Slipper winners don’t often graduate into open-class Group 1s but She Will Reign looked like jumping clearly into our top sprinters list. She went into the Everest as a top chance from that, but didn’t race well after being galloped on, and was coughing post-race before being spelled by trainer Gary Portelli. Let’s hope we see her again at her best.

    Best: Chautauqua – TJ Smith
    Undoubtedly the best win of 2017 – Chautauqua’s last to first victory to capture his third TJ Smith was simply thrilling. The people’s horse, the flashy grey, the impossible margin back, the difficult passage through the others, the afterburners, and a great call by Darren Flindell. People were talking excitedly about this win for weeks, months, and will be for years.

    Honestly, watching again, you still don’t think he can get there. A brilliant win for a great sprinter.

    Most bizarre: Run Rhino Run
    Run Rhino Run’s incredibly odd win in South Africa was probably one of the most watched replays of the year.

    Everything from the run itself, to the race call, to the hopeless efforts of the jockeys behind, to the exhausted jockey, to the post-race interviews… you couldn’t script it.

    Poor Run Rhino Run – plenty of watchers kept an eye out for his next starts, but sadly his two subsequent runs have seen him beaten by 99 and 33 lengths, tailing right off after an early lead. As his trainer said after his crazy win, “Everyone knows this horse has rocks in his head.”

    Looks like they haven’t quite got him on the straight and narrow just yet!

    There’s plenty more we could’ve added here – the likes of Redzel in the Everest and Darley, Jameka in the BMW, and many more – feel free to drop in your best win of the year!

    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

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    The Crowd Says (10)

    • December 20th 2017 @ 11:26am
      Kangajets said | December 20th 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

      Redzel is one of my favourites

      But Winx winning her first 2 spring starts from impossible positions were fantastic.

    • December 20th 2017 @ 12:21pm
      MAX said | December 20th 2017 @ 12:21pm | ! Report

      Hi Tristan,

      Limiting the choice to the best racing win, I vote for…

      Merchant Navy’s Coolmore win and Mark Zahra’s brilliance to achieve so was the standout of the
      year and also the season to date. It was a $30 million dollar ride and prompted me to put the
      pedigree of Merchant Navy over Winx. Wow! His sire, the proven Fastnet Rock would probably
      get first preference.

      If I may add. Country Cups hold a special place on my racing calendar. If you ever have visitors
      (especially from overseas) who want to see a snapshot of our great country take them to a
      Country Cup if dates make it possible.

      • Editor

        December 20th 2017 @ 11:09pm
        Tristan Rayner said | December 20th 2017 @ 11:09pm | ! Report

        What are your top country cups mate?

        • December 21st 2017 @ 7:38am
          MAX said | December 21st 2017 @ 7:38am | ! Report

          Warrnambool, Wycheproof, Warracknabeal, Mudgee, Bathurst, Wagga Wagga.

          There are many smaller town Cups I would loved to have attended.

    • Roar Guru

      December 20th 2017 @ 1:43pm
      Will Sinclair said | December 20th 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

      That win still hurts too much.

      I was on Invincible Star and was counting my cash.

      • December 20th 2017 @ 1:54pm
        MAX said | December 20th 2017 @ 1:54pm | ! Report

        So did my darling wife. I had a saver on the winner… so she finished square.

    • Roar Guru

      December 20th 2017 @ 8:54pm
      Nathan Absalom said | December 20th 2017 @ 8:54pm | ! Report

      Extra Zero winning his hundredth start for mine, I just love those old horses that turn up again and again and again.

      • Editor

        December 20th 2017 @ 11:08pm
        Tristan Rayner said | December 20th 2017 @ 11:08pm | ! Report

        Great call! What a fantastic horse for the owners.

        • December 21st 2017 @ 11:00am
          Haradasun said | December 21st 2017 @ 11:00am | ! Report

          Rich charm as well was a great sentimental win

    • December 29th 2017 @ 9:46pm
      michael steel said | December 29th 2017 @ 9:46pm | ! Report

      WINX and REDZEL are the stars of 2017. You heard it first here. REDZEL got under everyone’s guard and I think that’s because he lost THE SHORTS 1100 and probably some admirers. From what I’ve seen from replays he didn’t lead in that race but when he leads he’s just about unbeatable right now. Also am I the only won who got Redzel and Reldas mixed up at some point, probably.
      Great to see ACE HIGH win the VRC DERBY, I love horses with good names, always had a problem with Hay List, very good horse with a B grade name.

      Anyway tomorrow there’s some good racing Brisbane , but most important the smallest field in nine races is a field of twelve runners. Big fields makes punting so much ore enjoyable, and you get sick of the rubbish fields dished up in Sydney every week. Best horses, best trainers, best jockeys and fields of 7 or 8, until race 9. WHY?

      Pepperano is my each way tip in the last in Brisbane. Has won in Melbourne in handy races.

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