Winx racing for Aussie immortality
THE horse racing world is firmly focused on one race today at Randwick, with champion mare Winx chasing an incredible 30th straight victory.
While she holds a stunning record, it appears there are a few records that are out of reach for her.
Puerto Rico's Camarero holds the world record of 56 wins in a row, followed by unbeaten Hungarian mare Kincsem with 54 starts. Puerto Rican horses Cofresi (49), Condado (44) and Galgo Jnr (39) are also ahead of Winx.
Jockey Hugh Bowman said she had "nothing to prove".
Speaking on SEN, he said she might still be around in spring and could even chase a fifth Cox Plate.
WHEN DOES SHE RACE?
Winx is set to race in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes, which will run at 2.50pm (AEST).
WHAT ARE THE ODDS?
The TAB have reported the biggest bet they've ever taken on Winx - $250,000 bet at $1.08, with the bettor set to win just $20,000.
It eclipsed their previous biggest bet of $201,200 at $1.22 on last years' Cox Plate.
Winx brings out huge bets with one punter reportedly betting $150,000 at $1.10.
Most bookmakers have the odds for Winx at around $1.09 for the win. Ladbrokes was betting a $1.10 about noon.
WINX'S SHOT AT IMMORTALITY
Winx's place in history is assured whether she wins the Apollo Stakes or not.
She has won four Cox Plates when everyone thought Kingston Town's three would stand the test of time.
She has won 29 races in a row, four more than Black Caviar, who stands alone because she was never beaten.
And Winx has won more money than any other Australian horse - nudging $23 million.
So what sets Winx apart from the rest?
Her ability is obvious and always has been even when as a younger horse she was getting beaten every so often by horses now retired.
As a seven-year-old, Winx shows no signs of apathy towards her work or racing and her longevity is also aligned with her affinity for routine and her lack of the sorts of injuries, minor or serious, that have curtailed the careers of others.
Her trainer Chris Waller says that is down to the attention she and her stablemates receive from him and his staff, but mainly her ability to look after herself.
"She doesn't put herself under the pressure in her races that others might," Waller said.
"She hasn't been over-raced. Just three or four races, then a holiday. That's how it's been for five years.
"And keeping her in Australia has been a big part of her longevity. I've always said the planes come here too so they can come and race her."
They, horses from the northern hemisphere, have only one more chance - with a couple of Japanese horses and two from Melbourne Cup-winning English trainer Charlie Appleby entered in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 13.
The Queen Elizabeth is her proposed swansong and the fourth run of her campaign.
Her first assignment is Saturday's Apollo Stakes over 1400m, a distance her jockey admits is the one that poses the most danger.
"The 1400 I think is her most vulnerable distance," Bowman said. "It's the only distance that she feels at some point in the race 'oh is she at her top already'. That's a small feeling I get.
"For me, the first-up race, I always look at it as a stepping stone towards the rest of her preparation.
"I guess there is that little element of unknown because she hasn't raced since the Cox Plate.
"But all signs that she's shown us are that she's ready to go."
The Waller stable will have six of the eight runners in the Apollo, all worthy opponents, with 2017 Thousand Guineas winner Aloisia and Sydney fan favourite Happy Clapper the two from outside the fold.
Happy Clapper is the second-highest rated Australian horse on the World's Best Racehorse rankings, where Winx shares top billing with English horse Cracksman.
The second favourite in markets on the Apollo, Happy Clapper has raced against Winx eight times and finished behind her eight times, but last season still won three Group 1 races.