It’s a Winx Blitz at The Valley
Everyone who arrived in testing weather conditions at The Valley last Saturday was here to witness a race they’d hoped they would never forget.
It had been billed as the race of this century and on the 30 year anniversary since Bonecrusher and Our Waverley Star duelled their way down the straight in the 1986 W.S. Cox Plate, a brave crowd of 26,060 patrons lined the fence to witness what they’d hoped to be a modern day reenactment.
However, while that didn’t eventuate, something that exceeded what many people would allow themselves to dream of did. It wasn’t the defending champion going head-to-head with the emerging Godolphin star. It would be a one act affair, a new W.S. Cox Plate margin record and as Greg Miles so rightly put it – “A Winx Blitz”.
For a fleeting moment, the reenactment appeared a possibility, as the two horses in blue made their runs together passing the famous school landmark. In only a few strides, one was chasing and one was coasting, with the mare showing her dominance in spades and extending her margin to a record breaking eight lengths to go alongside her track record of 2015.
“For her to win like that is probably pretty fitting for the horse she is,” Waller stated post-race.
The sentence alone explains the respect and the regard Waller holds the daughter of Street Cry in. She is elite and without getting into the bar chatter of comparing her to the two mares who have gone back-to-back before her – Flight (1945-46) and Sunline (1999-2000) – by the cheers from the crowd they knew they were witnessing an ‘I was there’ moment to tell the grandkids.
They knew the enormity of the task, as did part-owner and daughter of the legendary Bob Ingham, Debbie Kepitis. “My Dad once said, ‘to win a Cox Plate is an enormous thrill, to win two Cox Plates is an absolute dream,” Kepitis said after the race.
For Ingham, who was at the helm of the enormous Woodlands Stud ‘all cerise’ operation, it remained an elusive dream having raced hundreds of horses and only once capturing the W.S. Cox Plate with Octagonal in 1995.
So what’s left for Winx? The mighty mare has stretched her undefeated run to 13 straight wins, $9.3 million in prizemoney, 532 days unbeaten and 147 consecutive horses left in her wake.
“Win a third one” was the simple reply by her trainer Chris Waller last Saturday after the race, which would delight all of Australia’s racing fans.
“This is Australia’s big race and while getting her to the other side of the world would be good, we’ll be back next year… you respect the Australians and they respect you.”
So what does that mean for racing fans? An agonising 359 day wait to see if she can join the immortalised Kingston Town as just the second horse in 97 years to perform a three-peat.