Winx ridden by Hugh Bowman wins the Seppelt Turnbull Stakes at Flemington Racecourse on October 07, 2017 in Flemington, Australia. (Brett Holburt/Racing Photos)
Even though I didn’t have a winner on Turnbull Stakes Day, it was still a huge thrill for me to have a front row seat of Winx’s sensational Flemington debut.
It’s the first time I’ve ridden against the mighty mare, and she was nothing short of amazing.
Around the 600-metre mark, my horse felt good and I felt like he was working his way into the race nicely. But Winx had other ideas. She was cantering behind us, and when Hugh Bowman asked her for an effort, Winx just took off. Assign is a very good horse, but she just left us and the rest of the field for dead, and we were racing for second place from a long way out.
Her acceleration was unbelievable – it must be such a thrill for Hugh to ride her in full flow. He’s definitely got the best job in racing!
There were so many people at Flemington, so it was great that Winx was able to put on a show for them. She’s so good for racing – every sport needs its superstars, and she definitely falls into that category.
The mounting yard was packed before the race, and I got a good look at Winx up close. I had high expectations, and she didn’t disappointed – she looked absolutely outstanding. She was so relaxed in herself and coped beautifully with all the attention. She really took everything in her stride.
There was a great atmosphere at Flemington, and it’s going to go up a few notches for the Cox Plate. I can’t see anything getting close to her in the Cox Plate, it’ll probably be another procession – unless she has an off day, and even then another horse would have to go up a few levels to beat her.
She’s a good enough horse in Sydney, but she seems to thrive even more down here in Melbourne. The wide open spaces of Flemington especially suited her, and while it’s a bit tighter at The Valley, she still seems to love it there.
Looking further ahead, I know there’s talk of taking her to Europe, but for me I don’t think she really needs to race overseas to prove her greatness. She’s beaten some pretty good international horses in the last two Cox Plates, so she doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. If she wins it this year, I’d love to see her go for a fourth Cox Plate – that’s never been done before, so it would be a fitting legacy to her brilliance.
As much as I’d love to ride Winx, I can’t see that happening any time soon but I’ve still got plenty to look forward to over the rest of the Spring Carnival. Even though Silent Sedition didn’t win the Gilgai Stakes on Saturday, I was still taken by her run. She maybe didn’t handle the straight as well as the bend, but she’ll be much better for the run and I’m confident she’ll go really well in her next race over 1400 metres on Caulfield Cup Day.
Then this Saturday, I’m not sure yet who I will be riding in the Herbert Power Stakes, but it’s likely to be one of Lloyd Williams’ runners. Hopefully I can make it back-to-back victories after winning the race on Assign last year. At least we won’t have to take on Winx again!