By Brad Gray At Royal Randwick
Winx claimed her 19th straight victory in the $250,000 Group Two Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) but Josh Parr on Red Excitement very nearly pulled off the impossible.
Parr set up a 10 length break on the mighty mare at the 600m and with Winx being felt for by Hugh Bowman, the evergreen eight-year-old looked destined to end the winning streak. Never write off a champion though.
“I thought I had pulled off the miracle ride. It’s hard to explain. I thought I was off and gone and when I had a look at the big screen she was nowhere near me,” Parr said.
“There was only one way I could possibly win and that was to be very bold so that’s what I did. I thought I was home at the 200m. I was such long way ahead of them and still flying but Winx is a freak.
“It seemed just a few strides later she was gobbling me up. She is just a freak of a horse but my bloke is in red hot form. Today he has just run into possibly the greatest ever.
“He is in career best form. I think he deserves a big one. He has been knocking on the door for a while.”
Chris Waller and Hugh Bowman are now very much aware that every time Winx goes to the races, she is the hunted with daring tactics seemingly the only way to bring about her undoing.
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“He certainly made a race of it,” Bowman, who dropped his whip half way down the straight, said of Red Excitement.
“He left no stone unturned. I was comfortable in the first quarter of the race but I could see what was happening so I started to make my way a bit closer from the 900m mark but I still had to stay within myself.
“At the top of the straight I wasn’t worried last start but today I really was. What she did today was incredible, I mean everything she does in incredible but I’m lost for words.
“I was concentrating on just keeping her balanced but when she hit the afterburners at the 150m mark today I just can’t explain the feeling.”
Chris Waller echoed many of Bowman’s concerns, adding: “They turned the race on. I guess tried to break us up. It’s never what you like to see when you’ve got a horse like her chasing but fair play to them. The horse held on and ran second - it didn’t fall out and run last. Just proved that she is at her best and it’s pretty hard to beat a horse at its best.”
“With 400m to run I thought I was more concerned today than I was first up. I thought she was going to get there quite easy first up with her momentum but it is hard to gauge when you have a horse free rolling like that. He hasn’t had a soft section but credit to the second horse. He’s not a bad horse. She pulled them back pretty well at the finish.”