Winx maintains her incredible record, notching up her 27th win in a row (Lisa Grimm)
It only took a second – two at the most – for Winx to breathe new life into the 2018 spring carnival.
Let’s face it, there was an air of inevitability (invincibility!) leading into Saturday’s Group One Colgate Optic White (George Main) Stakes over 1600m at Royal Randwick.
Sure, there were no slouches among the opposition – Le Romain had won three Group Ones – but Winx was aiming for her third George Main in a row (a record) and most of the people on-course were only wearing their Colgate smiles for one horse.
It was to be her 27th win in succession and 20th Group One victory overall (another record) and it was 1252 days (way back in April 2015) since she’d tasted defeat.
Along the way she had defeated over 60 individual Group One winners of some 110 Group Ones and it seemed a mere formality she would take her earnings to a whopping $19,582,424 with the Colgate Optic White win … who wouldn’t be smiling?
Just 24 hours before the race, official rankings arbiter, Longines, had re-confirmed her status as the best racehorse on the planet, a position she held jointly from the start of 2018 and solely from May.
Even when the gates flew open and Winx settled at the rear and was well back turning for home (we’ve seen that movie before!) no-one was overly alarmed.
Then, around the 350 metre mark it (briefly) appeared the wheels may well come off what many consider the greatest road show we have ever seen. The wonder mare looked to be struggling to find her stride and suddenly people started to remember that there was no way Buster Douglas was ever going to beat Mike Tyson, nor was it likely everyone would take a tumble in front of Steven Bradbury.
However, this is Winx we’re talking about and the mare soon found her mojo, eventually streaking away to win by four. Yes, ‘sublime’ is the best we’ve got.
“It’s the first time I have niggled her around the corner in a 1600m race but I guess that’s due to a couple of things,” jockey, Hugh Bowman, said post race. “It had a lot to do with the pace we were going and the class of horses she races against … they are the best in the country.
“We’ll be lucky to see another one like her while I’m alive anyway, I think that’s a given. She just gives people so much to look forward to.”
It’s highly questionable that anyone would be more relieved when a race is over than trainer, Chris Waller, and he too admitted: “if you expect to win races at the 300m every time, you will probably come off second best”.
Although Waller wouldn’t be drawn on exactly what will be Winx’s next outing, it seems more than likely she will follow a similar path to 2018 by heading to Melbourne for the Group One Turnbull Stakes over 2000m at Flemington on 6 October: the dress rehearsal for a fourth Cox Plate.
It’s worth noting that after beating Happy Clapper by just 1.3 lengths in last year’s George Main, Winx came out and smashed her nearest rival by 6.5 lengths in the Turnbull.
If the 2018 Colgate White Optic Stakes reminds us of anything though, nothing should ever be taken for granted. She’s simply the gift that keeps on giving.
As leading commentator, Bruce McAvaney so aptly pointed out as the queen returned to her adoring subjects: “God, we’re just so lucky to have her”.
Too true Bruce, too true.