WINX – A HORSE OF A LIFETIME
Words and Images by Sharon Lee Chapman
Horses like Winx, Black Caviar, American Pharoah, Arrogate, Frankel, Zenyatta, Secretariat, come along once in a lifetime. When these moments occur, they take our breath away with their rawness and sublime power and we all stand united, in awe, and our lives are enriched in an instant.
As an Australian horse racing photographer, I’ve been fortunate enough to witness both Black Caviar and Winx in action. Both champions, both different horses who decimated their opposition with ease. Black Caviar, won 25 of 25, a perfect record. Winx has won 17 straight, (12 of these at Group 1 Level) and taken on anyone who wants to challenge her.
She does it with such ease, it seems she doesn’t even get close to top gear. She just makes her move effortlessly at the home turn, and saunters past her opposition who are left in her wake, and the only question remains “who will run 2nd today to Winx”. That is the ease with which she is winning races. Frightening to think, Winx is only 5. She’s now amassed prizemoney of $12,895,425, and only sits behind Makybe Diva as the highest earner with $14,148,775. Not bad for a $230,000 purchase from the 2013 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sales. She’s beaten Group 1 winners galore. Last year’s star studded Cox Plate field of 10 boasted 7 individual Group 1 winners.
She won by a record margin of 8 lengths. She did this effortlessly,. But let’s put the stats aside for the moment. Peter O’Brien from Segenhoe Stud, where Winx was born and bred, recently stated that Winx was exceptional as a foal, standing up within 10 minutes of being born, something he’d not witnessed in 10,000 foalings. It seems from birth, she was destined to be something special. Racing worldwide, particularly in Australia, needs a horse like Winx. Horses like Winx give you goosebumps. They unite a crowd, all cheering for one horse, standing 50 deep at her stall, just to get a glimpse.
A typical crowd cheering home Winx is a scene that has become commonplace on a race day.
You can overhear the youngest of children whispering excitedly to their parents “Is that her Mum”? I Phones, I Pads, cameras, anything people can get their hands on are flaunted at Winx as she stands in her stall patiently with her her trademark, earmuff. She looks curiously over at the fans, probably wondering what all the fuss is about, but probably secretly knowing she’s something special. There’s a calmness about Winx on race day. She is totally unperturbed by the crowd, the cameras, the TV cameras, interviews around her. She is a pure athlete, a professional who takes it all in and knows when it’s to shine on the big stage. She saunters into the mounting yard with a confidence, yet calmness, not wasting any energy as she does when she heads out onto the track.
Winx winning the Queen Elizabeth.
When she hit the turn in the Queen Elizabeth and made her move, the crowd erupted in a unified roar, everyone cheering our Champ on. Flags waving, kids being held up on fences for the best vantage point and a sea of blue as everyone proudly wore their Winx caps. Cheering on a champion is what makes our sport great, it’s what people will remember for a lifetime. The good horses do that, the champions give you goosebumps and maybe a tear or two of joy at what has just been witnessed. As the latest rankings have just been released, Winx sits just 2 points shy of Arrogate after his epic World Cup victory. She is the highest rate mare in the world and the highest rated horse on turf and that is something pretty special. Winx is off to the paddock now for a well earned rest, before she comes back for the Spring to try and win a 3rd consecutive Cox Plate. We know the world will be looking on and cheering for our super mare.
.Owners and connections of Winx enjoying yet another win in a Grade 1 race.
Winx enjoying a welcome swim, away from the admiring eyes of the public who flock around to catch a glimpse of this wonderful thoroughbred, it’s almost like groupies of a rock band trying to get a picture of their idol before they go on stage.
We would like to thank Sharon for sharing this story about Winx and hopefully will be the first of many stories from her. We wish her all the best and look forward to seeing her next instalment.