The champion Australian race mare Winx, drawing ever nearer to her final career start in mid-April, is attempting a record 31st straight visit to the winners circle later this week.

Down Under wonder Winx and jockey Hugh Bowman saluting her admirers. (Image: Getty)

Winx loads into the starting gate late Friday – Saturday afternoon in Australia at Royal Randwick in suburban Sydney – in an attempt to win the Chipping Norton Stakes for the fourth straight year. The post time is not yet official, but in the US it’s expected to be about 11:50 pm ET Friday. TVG is telecasting the race live. As usual, regular rider Hugh Bowman remains in the saddle.

Retirement Nearing For All-Time Great Winx

For the record:

  • Winx, now eight years old, and has yet to taste defeat in her last 10 Royal Randwick starts.
  • A win would mark a world-record 23 Group 1 victories.
  • A win puts Winx in the company of former champion Tie The Knot as a four-time winner of the Chipping Norton Stakes.
  • She would become the first horse to win two Group 1s on four occasions, completing a quartet of Cox Plate wins in 2018.

Trainer Chris Waller knows his champion heads into retirement in six weeks and after just two more projected starts. They are the George Ryder Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, both at Royal Randwick. She cruised to victory less than two weeks ago in the Apollo Stakes over her home course.

Waller told local reporters soon after:

“She hasn’t changed a lot. She’s just so dominant. She hasn’t been tested to the full extent in any of her grand finals. People are understanding of how hard it is to win 30 races in a row. You don’t do it by being the best on one day. You do it by being the best over three of four years, and you overcome track conditions, you overcome barrier draw, you overcome slow starts, wide runs. That’s Winx”

Remembering Phar Lap

Race fans worldwide also know that a Chipping Norton Stakes win is important and historic. That’s because it’s also on the resume Phar Lap, the Australian champion in the early the 1930’s. Phar Lap remains one of the most famous and enigmatic thoroughbreds ever. That’s because of his humble origins, his many victories, and his shadowy demise.

Unlike Winx, Phar Lap raced in the Northern Hemisphere, winning the 1932 Aqua Caliente Handicap in Tijuana, Mexico, in track-record time. Sadly it became his final race. After a sudden and mysterious illness soon after the Aqua Caliente, Phar Lap perished in Atherton, California. At the time, he was the third highest-earning stakes-winner in the world.

Eighty-seven years ago, he was dubbed the World’s Greatest Horse:

Winx enters the starting gate as the prohibitive favorite in the $600,000 (AUD) Chipping Norton, contested at just less than a mile on the grass. As in the Apollo, she’ll see several other horses trained by Waller and the never-discouraged Happy Clapper, who has been dispatched by Winx nine times in his career. “The Clapper” was second in this year’s Apollo.