We welcome the new financial year with another likely dry day and wet track at HQ.
One of the things I love about horse racing is the uniquely personal relationship fans develop with the stars of the sport.
Successful punting is, naturally enough, a large part of it, for who among us doesn’t love to have a big win on a great horse in a major race. But I think there is more to it than this.
As we prepare for the retirement of our great mare this Saturday, 13 April, most of us will be reflecting on our particular special connection with Winx.
I would like to share a few of my own thoughts as I get ready to sit in front of the television to see this remarkable horse for the last time.
I have never seen Winx in the flesh, nor have I ever invested one cent on the horse, as by the time I wised up to how good she was, she was starting at odds that were just too short for me to get involved. And, yes, I have bet against her, but not too often.
There are three things I will take away from her career above all others. First, as a proud Queenslander, I am glad that her remarkable winning streak kicked off during our winter carnival a few years ago. It is one of the very few things that Queensland racing fans have had to brag about in recent times.
The second is the day she won the Doncaster. She overcame difficulties that day and was absolutely magnificent. Strangely, why I have this episode among my top Winx moments is not solely or even primarily because of Winx, for this was the day that Chautauqua came from an impossible position to win his second of three TJ Smith Stakes. The two of them created memories for racing lovers that will last a lifetime, particularly for those present at the track.
When I think of Winx, however, I will recall the 2017 Turnbull Stakes. She was already acknowledged as a champion by then, but the way she won that day marked her as a horse that most of us can never expect to see the likes of again. Regarded by some as better on soft ground, she absolutely trounced a small but select field on a firm Flemington surface over the classics distance, and I for one shall never forget it.
For those who have their own recollections to share, I would love to hear from you in the comments section. As for who I think will win the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, stay tuned.