Wondermare Winx extends winning run and claims third Cox Plate

Sat 28 Oct 2017

Australian superstar Winx secured her 22nd consecutive victory with an historic third triumph in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate.

Chris Waller's incredible mare had won the Moonee Valley showpiece in each of the last two years and having looked better than ever when dominating her rivals in the Turnbull Stakes three weeks ago, her first success at Flemington, she was unsurprisingly a red-hot favourite to emulate the great Kingston Town, who won the Cox Plate three times in the early 1980s.

The six-year-old was fractious in the starting stalls, but jumped out cleanly and travelled with her usual exuberance in the hands of Hugh Bowman.

She moved menacingly to the front rounding the home turn and while Humidor briefly threatened to cause a huge upset, finishing strongly in the closing stages of the 10-furlong contest, Winx had enough in reserve to hold him at bay.

Bowman told "It's hard to explain really. It's been such a build-up and I'm lost for words.

"She's made history. I was born the year Kingston Town won his first Cox Plate and she has emulated the great.

"Trying to compare one horse to another is difficult, they're all different, but we are in the presence of greatness.

"She will be recognised as one of the greatest horses to grace the Australian turf and to be a part of her career, I can't explain how much that means.

"It's very humbling, I'm very proud and I look forward to watching the replay."

The jockey was keen to pay tribute to Waller, adding: "I think we're all proud of what we've achieved together, but I think Chris Waller needs to take a lot of the credit.

"To be able to manage an animal like this and bring her back three years in a row to peak on one particular day, I think it goes unnoticed.

"I've had an amazing career and Winx delivered me my first Group One in this race two years ago. She's now delivered me with my only other two.

"She's the type of horse that you dream of. Everyone dreams of a horse like this and being a part of a horse like this.

"This thoroughbred has brought so much joy to my life and my family's life."

An emotional Waller said: "It's certainly a thrill to be here. I've been one of the many people up in the stand admiring this race and admiring the history of this race and Australian sport, so it's very humbling to be on the other side looking at everybody. I thank them for embracing Winx like she's one of their own.

"You don't have any emotion watching her. It's just the last 400 metres where you expect her to start to show and she did that today.

"Obviously she was in for a fight and it wasn't an easy victory. She had to be good to fight off Humidor and the other runners in the race.

"Well done to connections of the second horse. They got beaten by a good horse.

"In Australian sport and New Zealand sport as well, if you get involved in these type of events, that's a dream.

"Being associated with horses like Winx, that's a wildest dream.

"I'm just blessed to be part of it and I'm very proud of my team just as much as Winx.

"The last four months has been pretty intense, just getting her here in the best possible condition for the fans."

Connections have previously revealed a potential European campaign, including an appearance at Royal Ascot, is under consideration for next year, but Waller is keen to enjoy the moment.

He added: "Let's get through today. She'll only go if she's still at her very best.

"She's an animal that we love and horses come first in this sport. I wouldn't make a decision until at least March.

"We'll talk about races and any questions people want to ask I'm willing to answer them, but we won't get serious until about March."

Humidor ran a fantastic race to finish a close-up second just a week after finishing fifth in the Caulfield Cup.

Trainer Darren Weir is now looking forward to a tilt at the Melbourne Cup on November 7.

Weir said: "I thought he ran great. He's had a really good week.

"The plan was to go back and ride him to be strong through the line to see whether we can push on for a Melbourne Cup.

"Halfway down the straight, I didn't know what to think really.

"He ran great, the winner was too good, and the scenes here are amazing.

"There's a lot more to come from our horse and I hope we'll go for the Melbourne Cup now, providing he has a good 10 days."

Charlie Appleby's British challenger Folkswood was a highly creditable third under Kerrin McEvoy.

McEvoy said: "He ran really well. He was a little bit slow to step, but I got into my preferred spot and we had a nice time of it.

"The leaders stepped it up at the half-mile and I increased (my speed), but unfortunately the wondermare was right on her hammer at the 500 (metre mark).

"My fella batted on well and that was a personal best for him to finish third, so you couldn't ask for much more."

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