Australian Racehorse of the Year, Winx (pic. Sharon Chapman)
The coronation of Winx as Australian Racehorse of the Year for 2015-16 came as no huge surprise when the award was announced in Sydney last Thursday.
After all, the Chris Waller-trained mare had captured five Group Ones during the season – a Doncaster, Cox Plate, Epsom, George Ryder and Chipping Norton – but even more emphatic was her unbeaten run of nine, which has since been stretched to 11 since the start of 2016-17.
Ultimately, Winx polled 59 of 60 votes and while the result may have appeared a foregone conclusion (she was also recognised as Champion Middle Distance Racehorse), the depth of talent in Australian racing is nothing short of astounding.
In any other year, the Champion Sprinter, Chautauqua would have come under serious consideration for the major award with his victories including a TJ Smith and Manikato Stakes at the elite level. And, although his phenomenal performance in the Group One Chairman’s Sprint in Hong Kong doesn’t count toward the Aussie gongs, it was not something you’ll forget in a hurry.
Capitalist was on the third line of betting for the Golden Slipper but following his success in the juvenile feature (along with the Breeders’ Plate and Magic Millions 2YO Classic), the Written Tycoon youngster was at unbackable odds to take out the Champion 2YO Racehorse title. And so it was for the Snowden trained son of Written Tycoon.
The retired Encosta de Lago displayed how much influence he still holds on Australian racing given that, in addition to Chautauqua’s grab in the Sprinter category, his daughter English managed to carry off the Champion 3YO Filly award courtesy of her Group One All Aged success.
All four – Winx, Chautauqua, Capitalist and English – are now working toward the business end of spring racing, but again, the quality of racing in Australia has come to the fore as, regardless of what each do in the next nine or so months, they will have the likes of Extreme Choice, Black Heart Bart, Astern, Impending, Russian Revolution, Global Glamour and Hauraki nipping at their heels.