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Image: Steve Hart
Winx has extended her record-winning career in the George Ryder Stakes

The Rosehill crowd has given Winx a reception like no other with the mare gracing the track for the final time.

For the record, of which there are many when it comes to Winx, she won her fourth George Ryder Stakes on Saturday to take her Group One tally to 24 and her winning sequence to 32.

She is the first horse to do many things including winning the same three Group One races four years in a row – the Cox Plate, Chipping Norton and George Ryder.

As Hugh Bowman steered Winx wide before the home turn, the cheers started and from then on it was a celebration as she went to the line 3-1/2 lengths in front of Brutal.

Race leader Dreamforce was another 2-3/4 lengths away for a creditable third.

But it’s all about Winx, who will have one more planned start in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in three weeks before she is retired.

For her trainer Chris Waller, the result brought the usual mixture of relief, excitement and awe.

“Hughie popped out four-wide with a bit of arrogance as we’ve seen him do and as he’s entitled to do,” Waller said.

“Obviously everyone expects her to win and that’s one of the reasons she does.”

“Every other jockey I’m telling not to be three-wide, but with her we have to be three-wide to stay out of trouble.

“She’s a very special horse. I’m sure she’s know what’s going on. Just a marvellous horse to work with and we owe it to her to be in this position.”

Bowman has ridden Winx to all her Group One wins and it’s now not so much a case of him having to use his tactical skills but just to keep Winx safe and let her do the rest, especially on Saturday’s testing heavy conditions.

“The pace was pretty good in the early stages,” Bowman said.

“I settled towards the rear of the field, as she often does, and when they slowed up the pace in the middle I was staying out wide on the better ground cause it’s quite chewed up on the inside with the conditions here this afternoon, so the pace steadied and I just crept a bit closer.

“Obviously I was more assertive with her over the last 300 metres than I would be here early in the mornings but for her it was very comfortable.”

“When I asked her to stretch she responded and you could hear the crowd roar. The excitement and the emotion, she responds to that as well as anything else, and once again I am just so proud of her and proud to be a part of it.

“I would never have imagined in those days growing up that I would be riding one of the greatest horses that has ever lived.”

Michael Hawkes, co-trainer of the runner-up Brutal, said the three-year-old was a future star.

“He was outstanding,” Hawkes said.

“We knew we were taking on the best in the world and everyone else does.

“It’s as good as winning without winning today because he has been beaten by a champion. But he’s a proper horse. He just doesn’t know how to give in.”

Neither does Winx.

 
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