By Greg Prichard
Hugh Bowman provided a fascinating insight into what it feels like to mow down the field aboard a superstar after Winx prepared for her next run with an impressive track gallop at Rosehill Gardens on Thursday.
The seven-year-old will chase her 31st consecutive win when she contests the TAB Chipping Norton Stakes over 1600m at Randwick on Saturday.
Bowman explained the exhilarating feeling he experiences when Winx gets down to her best work at the end of her races.
“The time for me, when I really feel it, is when I let her go and there’s a couple of horses in front,” he said.
“She really strides and really attacks to get to the front. She’s the most competitive individual I’ve ever had anything to do with.
“You can see the ears go back and you know it’s smooth and it’s finesse, but it’s power and it’s that will to win, along with her ability. It’s that will to win when I let her go, that extreme purpose that she moves with, that sets her apart.”
Bowman said the two races that struck him most about Winx’s determination to finish in front came in her 2017 spring campaign, first when she missed the start before running down Foxplay to win the Warwick Stakes and then when Red Excitement ran out to a big lead in the Chelmsford Stakes.
“I’d heard Chris talk about her competitive streak and will to win and I’d never really felt it until that day (in the Chelmsford),” Bowman said.
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“She breaks the rules as far as Red Excitement was about six lengths in front, but she chased him down and won pulling up. No other horse could have possibly done that.”
Trainer Chris Waller was asked if – after all Winx has achieved – she still manages to amaze him with her performances.
He replied: “I think for a fleeting moment she hits the front in a race and you can see that she’s got that dominance and you get a big sense of relief, but you also get that satisfaction to say, ‘Wow, how privileged are we to be working with this horse?’
“Hughie rides a lot of horses and I train a lot of horses and you’re forever saying, ‘Why didn’t this horse win today?’ Or ‘How come this horse can’t win from that position?' But Winx breaks all those rules.
“She’s overcoming track conditions, luck in running, sectional times - which is a big thing in sport. It’s like (with a football team) she can score two tries with five minutes to go every game and she does it with relative ease.
“She’s not waiting for the last seconds of the game, she actually gets there with a bit to spare, so I just shake my head at that because horses can’t do that, sporting teams can’t do that, unless they’re absolute champions and I guess that’s what’s separating her from her opposition at the moment.”
Bowman and Waller couldn’t fault Winx going into Saturday’s race.
“The competitive juices are flowing through her veins and I’m sure we’ll see another good performance this weekend,” Bowman said.
Waller added: “The only change is she knows her job better than ever.”