There’s one question Hugh Bowman has been asked over and over again about Winx.
Could the greatest racehorse of our time have won the Melbourne Cup?
And it’s a question the star jockey can only answer with another question.
“I believe she would have won it, but would she still be here now?” Bowman said.
“I doubt she would (win) now because she would be carrying too much weight but I think certainly in 2015 and 16 had she have run in the race, I believe she would have won it.”
The 3200 metres of the Melbourne Cup is 1000m further than seven-year-old Winx was ever asked to run and her tally of 24 Group One wins includes four George Ryder Stakes (1500m), four Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) and four Cox Plates (2040m).
Bowman took to the track for a final work-out on Winx at Rosehill on Thursday morning ahead of the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick this weekend – bringing to an end a four-year winning streak that has captivated the nation.
But that four-year streak would not exist at all, Bowman believes, if trainer Chris Waller had not been able to resist the temptation of the short term glory of winning as many races as possible.
“I can honestly say that I feel that she’s as well going into this Saturday as she’s been ever in that four years,” he said.
“That says a lot to her constitution, a lot to the management of Chris Waller and his discipline over the years not to just go that extra run here or there.
“I’ve no doubt she could have won another five or six or seven Group Ones in that time, easily, if Chris had decided to go one extra run or two extra runs per preparation.”
The result, Bowman says, is a champion racehorse beloved by Australians who has been given the time to truly prove herself.
“The longevity … is one of the things that’s enabled that because she’s kept going for another season, and another season and all of a sudden the attention on her just builds and builds,” Bowman says.
“It’s all very well appreciating the attention she attracts here in Australia but the reality is (Winx) attracts exactly the same attention all over the world.”
And all that attention will be focused on Randwick on Saturday when Winx takes to the track one last time in front of a sell-out crowd.