Is Winx The Best Racehorse In The World?

Despite recording her 20th straight victory Winx still remains two points behind American superstar Arrogate in the World’s Best Racehorse Rankings (Lisa Grimm)


Good question. If you were one of the patrons lining the fence at Royal Randwick on Saturday, or among the many thousands glued to your television/computer screens, the verdict would probably be yes.

After all, who can thrill the masses the way she does? C’mon … you can admit it. Turning for home in the Group One Colgate Optic Stakes (George Main) you thought – at least for a stride or two – that there’s no way she wins.

Yet, lo and behold, she climbs off the canvas one more time and instead of having to respectfully clap Happy Clapper, you’re yelling your head off for one of the all-time greats.

So yeah, she is the best horse in the world from Randwick to Perth, via Darwin.

However, according to the latest, official, Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, Winx is rated two shy of US champion, Arrogate … 134 to 132.

(The Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings committee is represented by 18 member countries – two in North America, five in South America, five in Europe and six in Asia, which includes Australia).

The rankings, which reflect global performances from 1 January to 10 September 2017, remains unchanged from those distributed in August … well, at least as far as the top two are concerned.

This is despite Arrogate being well beaten when resuming in July – finishing fourth and 4.25 lengths behind the winner – and then running second in the Grade One Del Mar Pacific Classic at his most recent outing.

Meanwhile, in the corresponding period, Winx won the Group Two Warwick Stakes, the Group Two Chelmsford and Saturday’s Group One.

Surely Winx is a lay down misere for top honours when the next lot of rankings are released on 5 October?

Mmmm, not so fast, as Racing Victoria chief handicapper and statistical supremo, Greg Carpenter points out.

As a member of the Longines panel, Carpenter explains that the rankings are not based on cumulative runs and are, in fact, measured by a peak performance.

“Winx’s 132 relates to her win in the Group Two Apollo Stakes in February where she defeated Hartnell by nearly three lengths,” Carpenter points out.

“Arrogate’s 134, on the other hand, emanates from his victory in the Dubai World Cup where the beaten brigade included Gun Runner who has since come out and won three Group Ones by extended margins.

“It’s mathematically impossible for Winx to have a higher rating as she would have had to have beaten horses like Red Excitement (Chelmsford) and Happy Clapper (Colgate Optic) by many, many lengths.

“It will depend largely on how she goes and against whom in next month’s Cox Plate to determine whether the 132 gets any higher.

“It’s worth remembering though that the highest ranking Black Caviar achieved throughout her illustrious career was 132 in 2011 and was rated 130 in 2012 and 2013 even though she accumulated a further nine Group One victories, so Winx’s rating is hardly an insult.”

As objective as Carpenter must remain, he did allow for some parochialism when asked his opinion of the outcome in the extreme unlikelihood that Arrogate and Winx should ever meet in the field of battle.

“Well, let’s put it this way, she’d get four pounds off him under the weight for age scale and she’s only ranked two pounds behind him, so she has to win, right?,” Carpenter muses.

Even on dirt? “With that wonderful action of hers, she probably wins by 10 lengths!”

HOOFNOTE: In case you missed the birth notices in Sunday’s newspapers, Segenhoe Stud’s Peter O’Brien has reported that Winx’s dam, Vegas Showgirl, produced an Exceed And Excel filly on Saturday night … mere hours after her big, half sister won her 20th straight race.

The Power of Passion