We know Winx is a freak of nature.
We know what she did two starts ago against a very determined and brave superstar in Happy Clapper and then backed it up winning with absolute ease against some decent up and coming horses in the likes of Brutal and Dreamforce.
We also know, or at least are led to believe, that she will retire from racing after her next start in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
She is a rising 8-year-old as we know, but she is invincible right now and in fact is racing better and faster than at any other time in her career.
In terms of making that soon-to-be 8YO stat relevant to our way of thinking, here’s what you do.
A horse year is equal to 6 1/2 human years for the first 3 years of the horse’s life. At the horse age of three the equivalent changes and is approximately 5 years to mankind. From 4, the horse year equivalency changes to 2 1/2 years.
So Winx is 7 right now – and doing that complicated, convoluted maths above, that makes her the equivalent of a highly-trained elite human track star of 32 years of age!
Which, as the Olympics and World Champs are showing us, is in fact ideal, prime time.
Our own Sally Pearson is a wonderful example. At 30 years of age she won the World Championships in the 100m hurdles….coming back from potential career ending injuries.
Then we think of the great Raelene Boyle – she won the 400m at the 1982 Commonwealth Games aged 32. And for the distance lovers, Great Waitz won the New York Marathon at 38 years of age.
Now, remember Jamaica’s Merlene Ottey?
She began her athletics career representing Jamaica in 1979, before moving to and representing Slovenia from 2002 to 2012. She is ranked fourth on the all-time list over 60 metres, seventh on the all-time list over 100 metres and fourth on the all-time list over 200 metres.
Ottey had the longest career as a top level international sprinter appearing at the Pan Am Games in 1979 as a 19 year old, and concluding her career at age 52 when she anchored the Slovenian team in the 4 x 100m relay team at the European Championships in 2012.
Just look at a life devoted to racing can do.
Ottey was the first female athlete to run 60 metres under seven seconds (6.96 in 1992)
Ottey was the only woman to have run the 200 metres under 22 seconds indoors (21.87 in 1993).
Ottey has the fastest 100 and 200 metres one day combination, with 10.93 and 21.66 (32.59 total) at the 1990 Weltklasse Zurich grand prix.
In 2007 at 47 years of age she ran 11.64sec for 100m in the World Championships!
On the weekend Winx ran 1:32.20 which is in line to her win in the George Ryder last year when you take into account track conditions and she wen’t to the line under light riding on Saturday but still recorded the fastest last 1200m, 1000m, 600m (2sec quicker than The Autumn Sun), 400m and 200m sectionals of the entire day.
Two starts ago, Winx clocked 1.33.27 for the 1600m at Randwick, a life time PB. Previous to that, when resuming in the Gr 2 Apollo she ran 1.20.88 – another PB.
So, she is at her life time peak as far as an athlete is concerned.
Age has not slowed her in fact she has become faster as she has matured, and, realistically – on the race track for another two years she will earn millions of dollars more than if she went to stud and starting bearing children.
I’m scratching my head right now, so I’ll ask the question again: why retire her?
Racing at the moment needs her with cases like Aquanita and Darren Weir casting a dark light over our sport she has been the shinning light and and a draw card to get people interested in what is an ageing demographic of supporters.
If she is retired she will go to the breeding barn and history shows our best race mares don’t usually make the best broodmares, but more on that later. And we will be left with a whole to fill to get people excited about racing.
Why not bring her back for the Spring? I don’t see her getting beaten and imagine her bowing out with a 5th Cox Plate at Moonee Valley… That would be special.