Crowd favourite mare Winx has delivered on expectation to post an eighth straight win in a performance that had a high-powered crowd of racegoers at Sydney’s Rosehill Racecourse on their feet.
Federal defence minister Marise Payne, Melbourne Cup-winning jockey Michelle Payne and actor Rachel Griffiths were among the thousands who watched jockey Hugh Bowman pilot Winx to lead home the $1 million George Ryder Stakes.
Coming not long before the much-anticipated main event, the $3.5 million Golden Slipper, Winx’s victory had an already excitable crowd on its feet and roaring.
Senator Payne, who was yet to meet Australia’s other famous M. Payne, said before Winx’s win that she was a huge fan of the Cup-winning jockey.
“I even backed Prince of Penzance and Michelle Payne in the Melbourne Cup as my TAB account would attest so I’m a huge fan. I’m not a blow-in,” Senator Payne said.
The defence minister, who attended the races with her partner, NSW Trade, Tourism and Sport minister Stuart Ayres, said she and the jockey were not related.
“We don’t believe so and I’m sure they’re not even trying to claim, but I think they’re a New Zealand family originally and we’re very much Irish, straight to the southern highlands of NSW.”