Winx parades before her stunning victory in the Group One Chipping Norton Stakes (Lisa Grimm)
“I did but see her passing by and yet, I love her till I die”.
Those of you old enough to remember probably still wince at Bob Menzies’ homage to Queen Elizabeth during the royal visit of 1963, but there’s no cultural cringe attached to our affection for the mighty mare, Winx.
She is, beyond question, the queen of Australian racing, but sadly, she’s passing us by all too quickly – as those left in the wake of Saturday’s demolition job in the Group One TAB Chipping Norton Stakes would readily testify.
While there is no talk of imminent retirement – and indeed rumours of an overseas campaign – every minute … every second, she spends on the track should be cherished.
Let’s face it, we’re never short of a crowd pleaser: Makybe Diva, Sunline, Northerly, Might And Power, Lonhro, Weekend Hussler et al, but they didn’t have the air of invincibility of a Black Caviar or Winx.
Winx is, in every way imaginable, a superstar and to celebrate her latest and (close to) greatest, we’ve come up with 23 facts and figures that you may or may not know about the mighty mare.
1. Winx is the world’s best racehorse on turf and the No. 1 racemare.
2. According to the Longines World Rankings, Winx is the second best racehorse on the planet behind North American galloper, Arrogate (it’s fairly likely that anyone in the crowd at Royal Randwick on Saturday would disagree with that assessment).
3. Winx is the first mare to win three successive Chipping Nortons (and only one behind Tie The Knot’s record four victories 1999-2002).
4. She’s multilingual … Winx speaks fluent ‘horse’, accepts commands in English and Kiwi (of course) and is learning Turkish via her constant companion and strapper Umut Odemislioglu.
5. Winx has been ridden to victory by five jockeys: Jason Collett, Tommy Berry, Hugh Bowman, James McDonald and Larry Cassidy (but only by Bowman, McDonald and Cassidy during the current streak).
6. The run of 23 began on 16 May 2015 when capturing the Sunshine Coast Guineas. Cassidy phoned his wife to tell her it was like driving a Suzuki then jumping into a Ferrari before adding that “she might be the best horse I’ve ever ridden”. Cassidy also rode Sunline.
7. The combined winning margins throughout Winx’s streak is 67.15 lengths, including the 7 length demolition job in Saturday’s Chipping Norton.
8. Winx’s greatest winning margin is 8 lengths in capturing the 2016 WS Cox Plate, the shortest was the 0.2 lengths to spare in the 2015 Theo Marks and 2017 Warwick Stakes.
9. Winx was foaled on 4 September 2011, sharing the date with multiple Group One winners Bomber Bill, Diatribe, Encounter, Shaftesbury Avenue and 2016 Golden Slipper winner Capitalist (statistics courtesy of Australian Stud Book).
10. Winx was foaled down at Coolmore Australia in the Hunter Valley and, according to now Segenhoe Stud General Manager, Peter O’Brien, she was on her feet in 10 minutes: “highly unusual”. Clearly stands faster, runs faster.
11. From the 2015 Sunshine Coast Guineas to the 2018 Chipping Norton, Winx has spent just 38 minutes and 47.92 seconds actually racing.
12. Her stable name is ‘Winxy’ – OK, not the most imaginative moniker but her name does have ‘Win’ in it and who could argue with the X factor?
13. Winx’s favourite people are kids and when at the farm, calls out to them as they come home from school.
14. Winx’s unbeaten run has stretched from 16 May 2015 to at least 24 March 2018 … 1,043 days (2 years, 10 months and 8 days). Black Caviar’s unbeaten streak lasted 1,456 days (3 years, 11 months and 26 days).
15. Winx’s last 23 wins have been achieved on seven racetracks: 13 wins at Royal Randwick, three at Moonee Valley, three at Rosehill Gardens, and one each at Flemington, Caulfield, Doomben and the Sunshine Coast.
16. The Chipping Norton III was Winx’s 16th Group One victory – she now shares the world record for most Group One wins with American legend John Henry.
17. Winx won her only two starts as a 2YO. Her mum, Vegas Showgirl, was a stakes winning 2YO while her only other runner, El Divino was a Group winning 2YO.
18. Winx’s favourite flower is red clover and while she evidently used to like green apples, she now won’t touch ‘em.
19. Winx was sold for $230,000 at the 2013 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale, attracting 19 bids after kicking off at just $40,000.
20. From that $230,000 asking price, Winx has since gone on to amass $15,976,925 in stakes. The greatest prizemoney earner in Australian history.
21. Winx’s sire, Street Cry, has produced 21 Group One winners, including Champion North American Filly/Mare, Zenyatta, who won her first 19 races before being beaten at her 20th and final start.
22. She falls in love easily with other horses. Crikey, who are we to judge … we sure love her!
23. The number of derivatives in Roget’s Thesaurus for ‘phenomenal’ … and no, ‘freakin’ awesome’ is not one of them.
And while we’re at it, we might as well chuck in #24 …
24. Winx will be aiming for the 24th in a row (and world record number of Group One victories) in the George Ryder Stakes … on the 24th of March.
HOOFNOTE: Our thanks to Sophie Baker who handles client relations at the Chris Waller stable and was kind enough to pass on many of the tidbits about Winx. And yes, we don’t like green apples any more either!