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By Graham Potter | Tuesday, October 30, 2018

It was poetry in motion. This was the world’s best racehorse, gliding with mesmerising, controlled power, just so thoroughly superior to her rivals that she left a world audience in awe of her prowess.

The long-time mission of a mind blowing fourth successive Cox Plate victory was achieved with an almost scary efficiency. She looked picture perfect and, with her good mate High Bowman pulling the strings, Winx produced just as perfect a performance which sent the 40 000 plus crowd in attendance on this famous day at Moonee Valley into rapture.

Yes, statistics count so the fourth Cox Plate win saw Winx rocket into a new stratosphere … where no horse had gone before … but, in truth, the joy that Winx brings to the entire Australian population, not just racing enthusiasts, has long since left the mere matter of statistics behind.

Quite simply, Winx is racing’s rockstar.

The scenes at Moonee Valley on Saturday took your breath away. It was impossible not to get caught up in the celebration vibe which permeated every corner of the racecourse. The mood was exhilarating. It was party mode and when Daryl Braithwaite stepped onto the stage to sing his hit, the appropriately named ‘The Horses,’ all of the above was taken to a new level.

Now it was mind blowing.

I doubt if Braithwaite would have expected the response he received. Faced by a sea of blue he launched into the song and, in an instant, he had 40 000 people singing the words along with him.

This was a scene normally associated with soccer where the likes of Liverpool’s famous ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ anthem leads the pack … but here we were at a racetrack thrilled by a wall of sound that racing had never experienced before. The longer the song went on, the more the crowd got involved. The more the crown got involved the longer the song went on.

It was a Winx love fest.

And this was all even before Winx came out to race.

There was never any thought that Winx could spoil the party by not coming up trumps. That was never considered an option. The celebration had started early but had yet to reach its high point fever pitch.

Already the champion was breaking new ground.


While all of this was happening Winx was waiting in the wings … quiet, composed, the consummate professional.

There was a traffic jam of people wanting to see Winx in her tie-up stall. Then it was on to the parade ring where Winx was allowed to circle one last time by herself before making the walk through the tunnel, where so many stars had walked before her, to emerge onto the track itself to the roar of her adoring fans.

Maybe High Bowman is so calm in the saddle because Winx oozes a calm confidence. Maybe it is the other way around. Either way, this horse and rider have an amazing relationship and it would not be a stretch to say that it is one built on mutual respect.

They trust each other and work as a team as they did so well again on Saturday.

The excitement level of the race itself was amazing given that the result was so predictable. That was understandable though given that, as mentioned earlier, it was not really about the winning or the statistics, it was about the privilege of watching a true champion in action.

The fact that she was making history by taking out an unprecedented fourth Cox just made it all the better.
The blue streamers fired out over the crowd activated the next stage of the Winx party celebration.

Winx was absolutely glowing as Bowman brought her the long way around back to scale taking her along the front of the grandstands so that he could both pay tribute to the horse and salute the crowd for their support … while the masses could cheer their champion.

There was a tilt to Winx’s head which suggested she too was taking it all in.

They say champions know they are good. Winx was carrying herself like a superstar.

Looking at her, you wouldn’t have known she had just raced in a Cox Plate.


Trainer Chris Waller deserves special mention.

He and Hugh Bowman are quick to deflect any praise they receive back onto the horse and they are right of course, but only up to a point.

Winx’s raw ability didn’t turn into a perfect racing machine by chance. That talent has been nurtured, honed, refined … whatever you want to call it … to an exceptional degree by Chris Waller and his team. The challenge of the placement of Winx, the spacing in-between her runs and so many other aspects of her on track activities have been dealt with in exemplary fashion.

Not only that, but the stable has clearly have kept Winx very happy … that was there for all to see on Saturday … which is not always an easy thing to do.

Winx’s character would have had something to do with that but, again, the work the Waller team must have put into achieving and maintaining the optimum level in terms of the desired temperament of a racehorse is not only outstanding but is something which will stand to the enduring credit of all of those involved for creating an environment in which Winx could thrive.

Australian racing will forever be grateful for that.


In conclusion, it is just so difficult to find any flaw, any hint of weakness in the makeup of Waller, Bowman and Winx before, during or after any contest.

That has brought them to the level as being seen to be virtually unbeatable - a phenomenon that crystallises all that is good in horse racing and takes the faithful to higher ground while charming newcomers into the game.

As in her races, there really are no seconds in the race for an honour that surely needs to come the way of Winx, Australia’s world champion.

Australia’s Sports Identity of the Year.

It is no contest!

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Photos: Ross Stevenson
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