TO COMMEMORATE Winx’s attempt a historic fourth Cox Plate victory we have listed the top 10 reasons as to why the champion mare is unstoppable and at the height of her powers.
With her extraordinary winning sequence — at 28 — now stretching well beyond three years, we’ve attempted to highlight the key factors behind her remarkable consistency and longevity.
1. Her competitive nature. Like all elite athletes, her incredible will to win is unparalleled. When she sees ‘the bunny’ (leader) and there is always one with her style of racing, her instinctive nature to win drives her to crazy closing speeds. Trainer Chris Waller says: “It’s as if she wants to be a winner.”
Hugh Bowman and Winx hit the overdrive button in the Turnbull Stakes.Source:Getty Images
2. Closing speed. Winx has the rare, stamina-sapping ability to quicken and maintain her acceleration to the end of a race, while her rivals are tiring.
3. Her legs go faster. Winx’s stride and, to be more precise, the frequency of her stride are what give her a distinctive edge. Her stride is slightly longer than average racehorse but it’s the extra 30 strides a minute where she does the damage. Winx has about 170 strides per minute — compared to an average racehorse’s 140 per minute — allowing her to sustain top speed for longer.
Champion mare Winx seems to be able to handle the pressure and demands of top-flight racing better than most thoroughbreds.Source:Getty Images
4. Her ability to cope with the exacting demands of top-level racing set her alone. Waller says Winx is unlike any horse he had trained in the way she can hold her condition. “Almost every horse at the start of the preparation will lose 10kg and put some of it back on but not all of it. She will stay the same weight.”
5. Respect for the horse. This probably slots in much higher, but trainer Chris Waller and his staff, jockey Hugh Bowman and the owners have done an incredible job with management of the champion. They’ve taken it one race at a time, especially in the past 12 months and now that she is a seven-year-old. Waller always reminds us that while “she’s a happy horse and enjoying her racing” the status quo will continue.
Strapper Umut Odemislioglu walks Winx after her gallop at Breakfast with the Best on Tuesday morning. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
6. The three musketeers. The trainer. The jockey. The strapper. Trainer Chris Waller has been instrumental in the great mare’s continued excellence at the highest level. Carefully mapping out her campaigns, his meticulous and patient approach has left nothing to chance and it has paid off handsomely. Strapper Umut Odemislioglu knows all of Winx’s idiosyncrasies. You could argue even more than Waller. Always at her side, he is Waller’s first port of call for updates on the mare’s mental and physical state. Then there is jockey Hugh Bowman, the pilot. Some might argue it’s just ‘press-button stuff’ when you’re at the steering wheel with Winx, but Bowman has built up a tremendous relationship. All racehorses have certain quirks and mannerisms that are not solved overnight, sometimes never. Winx would be no different, yet history now shows a considerably smoother ride than most.
Hugh Bowman and trainer Chris Waller with last year’s Cox Plate trophy.Source:Getty Images
7. The owners — Peter Tighe, Debbie Kepitis and Richard Treweeke — which make up Magic Bloodstock Racing have allowed Chris Waller and his crew plenty of rein in relation to the great mare’s programming and respective goals. This intelligent, balanced approach has seen their partnership blossom and reap the rewards. Reflecting this is a world record 21 Group 1s.
8. Versatility. Winx has won over a wide distance range (1100m-2200m), including her debut 1100m win and up to 2200m of the Queensland Oaks. Her most successful distance is the mile, but you could argue her best distance is 2000 and above where she has inflicted some of her heaviest defeats.
Winx part-owner Debbie Kepitis with fans of the wonder mare before Saturday’s big race.Source:News Corp Australia
9. Warding off all evils. Part-owner Debbie Kepitis, like many racing people, is superstitious and does her bit to keep the racing gods happy. She has worn the same outfit almost every time Winx has won. “I’ve got very good dry cleaners … but I’m a realist and I know racing, so anything can happen in a race.”
Winx has captured the public’s imagination with The Valley already a sellout.Source:News Corp Australia
10. Winx has big shoulders. Carries the weight of a nation on her back every time she walks on to a racetrack these days. Don’t think there is a single individual in sport at the moment bigger than Winx and come 5pm the nation will be again transfixed on the mighty mare in her pursuit of a fourth consecutive Cox Plate victory.
Off & Racing – Cox Plate Edition21:32
The Daily Telegraph’s Ray Thomas, Tony Thomas and Matt Jones dissect all the weekend’s racing action including the huge Cox Plate, with Winx going for four in a row!
WINX THE MAGNFICIENT
Age/sex: Seven-year-old mare
Height: 16.1 hands
Race record: 38: 32-3-0 starts (28 wins in a row)
Group 1 wins: 21 (world record)
Prizemoney: $19,914,942 (Heads the all-time list in Australia)
Race: Cox Plate
Time: Saturday 5pm
Venue: Moonee Valley
Status: Group 1
Could Winx beat Kingston Town in a Cox Plate?2:26
Could Winx beat Kingston Town in a Cox Plate? We take a look at the two wonder-horse’s three Cox Plate victories and compare the two champions.
Originally published as Explained: Why Winx is greatest on planet
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