t was one of those times fans of all sports didn’t need to be told they’ve seen greatness.
EASY WORK: Winx thrashed a quality field in Saturday’s Cox Plate. Photo: Darryl Sherer
The Moonee Valley crowd cheered Winx on to the track, watched on anxiously through the first half of the race before roaring the wonderful mare home as she extended her margin to eight lengths in her second Cox Plate win.
The style of success was different to last year as the track conditions meant Winx ($1.80) covered more ground than her rails-hugging win of 2015 but her dominance was similar as jockey Hugh Bowman allowed her to cruise to the line to record her 13th straight success.
Godolphin galloper Hartnell ($5) tried hard but was no match for Australia’s best galloper while the three-year-old filly Yankee Rose ($13) was a game third for trainer David Vandyke and jockey Dean Yendall.
Bowman said Winx’s pre-race reception produced an emotional reaction but he was proud he was able to give the Chris Waller-trained mare the perfect ride for her thousands of supporters.
“To ride a horse like this and to come out on to the track prior to the race and have the crowd cheer you on to the track, I was really moved by that,” Bowman said.
“I had to regather myself when I got down to the start.
“I’ve had a bit of an in-and-out afternoon and an in-and-out couple of weeks but to produce a ride this mare is worthy of today, gives me so much pride.”
Few could begrudge Waller’s emotion after Winx eclipsed the brilliant Kiwi mare Sunline, who scored by seven lengths when notching her second Cox Plate victory in 2000.
Waller said the build-up to this year’s Cox Plate was different to 2015 because the five-year-old held top billing in what was promoted as a two-horse race with Hartnell.
“To get to this stage last year was something different to me.,” Waller said.
“To get back here again with the build-up, it was fantastic. For her to win like that, it was probably pretty fitting for the horse she is.
“I stupidly got involved in the build-up but I’m very proud now. It’s just fantastic for racing.”
Only Kingston Town’s three victories stand ahead of Winx in Cox Plate history and Waller said a shot at Kingston Town’s record was top of the list for Winx in 2017.
Melbourne can’t wait.