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23rd of October 2018

Sport



Pressure point: The day Winx had to hit top gear

CHAMPION mare Winx has made winning look easy during her record 26-race unbeaten streak.

Trainer Chris Waller hasn’t dodged a challenge with Winx either, starting her in major handicaps and weight-for-age races over a range of distances – but she has proven unbeatable for more than three years.

In what could be Winx’s final Sydney start for the spring carnival, the great mare is poised to continue her famous winning sequence in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

The race has attracted a select eight-horse field, including seven individual Group 1 winners, but Winx is so superior she has been installed as the $1.10 favourite on TAB Fixed Odds.

If Winx wins as expected, she will take her world record for Group 1 wins to 20 and her national record of consecutive wins to 27.

During her incredible run of wins, Winx has often put lengths on her rivals at the finish but even those races when her winning margin has been narrow the great mare has still been dominant.

But there was one race in her famous winning streak when Winx was fully tested – the 2017 Warwick Stakes.

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This was the day when trainer Chris Waller believes Winx had to dig deep like never before or since. The one race where she had to produce a maximum effort.

“I would say when she missed the start then had to reel off impossible sectionals to win,’’ Waller said. “Hughie (Bowman) said that day was the only time he had to ask her for an extreme effort.

“That is the only time I have heard Hugh say I had to get serious on her to pick up.’’

An analysis of the race and the sectional times support Waller’s view.

Winx blew the start by four lengths, was still last coming into the straight but charged down the centre of the track to collar stablemate Foxplay near the line to win by a half neck.

The small winning margin masks the enormity of Winx’s effort.

The champion mare was timed to run her last 600m in an incredible 31.88s – a breathtaking sectional given she was at or very near peak acceleration at least 1000m from home.

Winx’s ability to sustain her sprint over an extended distance separates her from other horses.

Some can record faster 200m splits but none can absorb the pressure and sprint as fast for as long a Winx is capable.

Racing NSW’s Punter’s Intel data shows that Winx, even though she is now a seven-year-old mare, is going as well, if not better than ever.

MCAVANEY: Winx deserves to rated alongside Phar Lap

Winx’s comeback win last month in the Group 1 Winx Stakes was remarkable as the mare was timed to hit a top speed of 69.4km/h during the race.

She sprinted home the final 600m in 32.33s even though jockey Hugh Bowman had eased up on her well before the finish line. Her fastest sectional split was a brilliant 10.48s between the 400m and 200m and she sprinted past her rivals and took control of the race.

The mighty mare crushes her opponents with a ruthless efficiency, recording such brilliant and successive sectional splits that she breaks the heart of her opponents.

She can produced these swift sectionals over all distances, too.

When Winx contested the Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2000m at Royal Randwick back in April, her sectional splits are usually the reserve of sprinters contesting races at 1200m or less.

Winx ran her final 600m in 33.48s, hitting a top speed of 67.3km/h as she zoomed through a 200m sectional from the 400m mark in 10.94s.

MIGHTY WINX — HER GREAT WINS

THE FASTEST

2017 WARWICK STAKES (1400m)

Winx ran her last 600m (above) in 31.88 seconds — the quickest she has ever run her closing sectional.

THE COMPARISONS

2017 CHELMSFORD STAKES (1600m)

● Top speed 67.3km/h

● Fastest 200m split 10.8 (400m to 200m)

● Last 600m 33.10

2017 GEORGE MAIN STAKES (1600m)

● Top Speed 66.4km/h

● Fastest 200m 10.99 (400m to 200m)

● Last 600m 33.55

2018 CHIPPING NORTON STAKES (1600m)

● Top speed 66.1km/h

● Fastest 200m 11.11 (1400m to 1200m)

● Last 600m 34.82

2018 GEORGE RYDER STAKES (1500m)

● Top speed 67km/h

● Fastest 200m split 10.91 (400m to 200m)

● Last 600m 33.32

2018 QUEEN ELIZABETH STAKES (2000m)

● Top speed 67.3km/h

● Fastest 200m 10.94 (400m to 200m)

● Last 600m 33.48

2018 WINX STAKES (1400m)

● Top speed 69.4km/h

● Fastest 200m 10.48 (400m to 200m)

● Last 600m 32.33

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