Winx facing toughest task in three years

J A McGrath

Australia’s champion mare Winx attempts to register her 25th consecutive win when facing nine rivals in Saturday’s G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick — and her jockey Hugh Bowman expects it to be one of her toughest races.

‘The Championships,’ Sydney’s showcase fixture, has consistently served as a watershed for the daughter of former Darley stallion Street Cry.

Twelve months ago, she won the same race, while in 2016, Winx took the G1 Doncaster Mile at the same meeting. You have to go back to the ATC Oaks in 2015, also at ‘The Championships,’ to find the last time she tasted defeat.

But Bowman appeared far from confident when speaking at a media conference in Sydney earlier in the week. The race tactics seemed a major concern.

“I don’t want to be too far back, in case they go slow early and sprint home, but on the other hand, I don’t want to be too close to the leaders and find they are setting a fast pace up front.

“I am drawn widest (10), which is not great, but it is what it is,” the jockey added.

Trainer Chris Waller has done an excellent job in keeping the mare at her peak for so long, winning three G1 Cox Plates on the way.

Humidor, a son of Darley stallion Teofilo, finished second to Winx in last year’s Cox Plate, and he could again be the mare’s biggest threat.

He finished eighth in the G1 Doncaster Mile last week, but will be better suited by the 2,000m trip. Black Caviar chalked up 25 consecutive wins before retiring unbeaten in 2013.