The drawing power of champion racehorses was evident with a capacity crowd of 38,035 on-course to witness thoroughbred history being made. Saturday's crowd was up around 5,000 on last year’s mark and was the biggest Cox Plate attendance since 38,325 people watched Northerly (AUS) win the 2002 edition of the event.
Moonee Valley Chief Executive Michael Browell said, “The Moonee Valley Racing Club has been privileged to yet again play host to one of the great moments in Australian sport. Congratulations to Chris Waller, Hugh Bowman and all at team Winx on their incredible achievement. Today has been a day that will live on forever in the memory of everyone fortunate enough to be on-course.’
The tension was palatable in the build-up before the race, but from the moment the barriers opened there seemed to be only one possible result. Winx and Bowman delivered exactly that with a 2L victory.
Bowman made sure that Winx was always in close contact with the early leaders moving the mare from barrier six across to be three wide as D’Argento and Kerrin McEvoy and Benbatl (GB) and Oisin Murphy led to the side straight past the 1600m point. The early pace was not strong.
Ryan Moore sent Rostropovich forward to share with D’Argento and Bowman sat in fifth with the mare, one out to make sure he was clear at all times, and he watched it all unfold in front of him to make his moves. Behind them Kings Will Dream had been pulled up by John Allen.
Bowman started to slide Winx forward from the 600m and the crowd roared in anticipation, Ristropovich was already under pressure with Moore desperately riding him, Benbatl moved up and then Winx was cruising forward.
As they cornered Winx, seemingly under no pressure, was outside Benbatl and then Bowman sent her on her way to stamp their authority on the race.
Effortlessly away the mare went and in strides she had disposed of another Cox Plate field from the 300m. Passing the line the margin was 2L and Bowman waited for another 50m before clenching his right fist in salute, a perfect result.
Godolphin’s Benbatl (Dubawi) under Murphy was exceedingly brave in second and much the best of the rest. Humidor (NZ) (Teofilo), second last year, chased hard for third under Damien Lane, the margin 2 3/4L.
Avilius and Glyn Schofield were fourth a further 3L back, Rostropovich fifth, D’Argento sixth and Savvy Coup seventh. The time was 2.03.47 on the upgraded Good 3 track with the final 600m in 35.62.
"I am just so proud of the horse,” said Bowman.
“I cannot believe it, I really thought in the build up to this that I would get quite emotional. I am feeling emotional but the electricity that came through my body turning into the home straight just then was something I did not just get to feel, but hopefully for everybody else watching.
“I am lost for words. Everybody watching her gets so much pleasure from her, out of her superb ability. The fact she has been able to do so many times consecutively just speaks volumes of the management of her,” he said.
“Going out of the straight the first time I was a little concerned that she was going to be caught three wide but it all unfolded quite well. The speed was not too strong, if anything they were going a bit too slow, she performs under pressure so that was my only concern,” said Waller.
“But to see her unleash as she does, I was looking for Humidor to be coming off her back and seeing how the others were travelling, but she had them covered a long way from home. It is pretty special," he said.
For Winx, the highest rated horse in the world with the LONGINES ranking, the records continue, four Cox Plates, 29th consecutive win, 33rd win overall from 39 starts and record stakes of $22,934,924.
The seven-year-old Street Cry mare out of the Al Akbar mare Vegas Showgirl, has set generational levels of achievement that will not be surpassed for a very long time.
Winx is owned by Peter Tighe, Richard Treweeke and Debbie Kepitis.