World champion mare Winx runs her final race

In scenes of adoration from a packed 43,833 crowd at Randwick the Chris Waller trained Winx under Hugh Bowman won her final race when winning the 2019, $4m, Group 1 Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on Saturday.

Winx, jockey Hugh Bowman and trainer Chris Waller stand in salute before the Randwick stands, picture
Winx, jockey Hugh Bowman and trainer Chris Waller stand in salute before the Randwick stands, picture

In a race of supreme confidence by Bowman the champion mare swept to the lead at the top of the straight and poured on the power to race in the middle holding at bay by 1 1/2L an excellent challenge by Japan’s Kluger (JPN) (King Kamehameha) and Tommy Berry, with an equally brave Hartnell (GB) (Authorized) and Kerrin McEvoy in third, the margin 2 1/2L.
Happy Clapper was fourth and Shillelagh was fifth with the disappointment He’s Eminent (IRE) staying at the rear of the field for the trip and finishing eighth.

The time was 2.02.54 on the upgraded Good 4 track with the final 600m in 34.60. Winx paid $1.06 on fixed odds and $1.04 on the tote.

The race belonged to Winx, Bowman and Waller from the moment the barriers opened. It was to be Waller’s 100th Group 1 win with a quarter of those from Winx, it was her 33rd win in succession, her 37th overall from 43 races and her stakes earnings of $26,451,174 made her the highest stakes earner in the world.

Bowman settled the mare mid-field outside Kluger and Berry with He’s Eminent under James McDonald behind and on the rails. Along the High Street side Bowman commenced his forward momentum with the mare at all times keeping out in clear racing room. They were wide outside Hartnell on the turn and then they surged off down the straight.

Berry saved ground with Kluger racing on the rails and the seven-year-old entire did not stop trying against the margin that Winx had established. Hartnell too kept trying, but it was too much and Winx had her race, her third Queen Elizabeth Stakes in succession, to the delight of the crowd.

After returning to massive celebrations from the crowd Bowman finally unsaddled the mare and she smacked Bowman’s lip as she drew her head back leaving the champion jockey bleeding profusely. Perhaps she was allowed the gesture in her final race track moment.

“It sure has been (the pressure). It is hard to explain. It has been amazing to be a part of. I am a small cog in the wheel,” said Waller.

“My team have just done an amazing job. It is rare they get the accolades. Racing for four years against the very best.”

“She is the most amazing supreme athlete I’ve ever seen handled by the best coach. I don’t have many words. It’s just very exciting. Congrats to everyone who has been involved with this horse,” said co-owner Debbie Kepitis.

“She has shown no signs of going backwards. We came here as confident as we have ever been and what a journey it has been. It is hard to believe it is the end actually,” said Bowman.

“To be in a position to ride such an amazing horse is a great privilege, I feel the emotion. At the end of the day, she is just a horse, she is a good one, but she is just a horse,” he said.

Winx, by Street Cry out of the Al Akbar mare Vega Showgirl, retires from racing in the best possible manner for her owners Peter Tighe, Debbie Keptis and Richard Treweeke.

The crowd was a modern day record for Randwick.