Champion mare Winx — the world’s highest-rated turf thoroughbred — made more racing history on Saturday by winning her third Cox Plate at Melbourne’s Moonee Valley course, becoming the top-earning horse in Australasian racing.
Winx won her 22nd successive race by taking out the 2,040-meter weight-for-age event, rated by many as the top-quality race in Australia and New Zealand.
In beating former New Zealander Humidor by a long neck, the six-year-old became only the second horse to win three Cox Plates since its inception in 1922. The great Kingston Town won his hat-trick from 1980-1982.
Winx, trained in Sydney by expatriate New Zealander Chris Waller, took her earnings to 15,577,000 Australian dollars ($11.96 million), surpassing triple Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva’s previous Australasian record of A$14.5 million ($11.14 million).
The daughter of Irish stallion Street Cry didn’t have things her own way, however, having to fight off Humidor’s determined challenge in the straight under her regular rider Hugh Bowman. She broke her own track record by 0.04 seconds, with a time of 2 minutes, 2.94 seconds.
English horse Folkswood was third, 4-1/4 lengths behind Humidor.
“We are in the presence of greatness,” an emotional Bowman said after the race. “She will be recognized as one of the greatest horses to grace the Australian turf, and to be a part of her career I can’t explain how much that means.”
Winx, who has now won 26 of her 32 career starts, also matched the Australasian record of 15 Group 1 wins set by former sprinting star Black Caviar. Three more successive wins will put her equal with that unbeaten mare’s record 25 straight victories.
Winx, who may compete at England’s Royal Ascot meeting next June, is also expected to pass American dirt runner Arrogate as the overall top-rated horse in the world when the next set of World Thoroughbred Rankings compiled by the France-based International Federation of Horseracing Authorities comes out in November.
Only 11 horses have won more successive races than Winx’s 22, several of them in lower-level racing jurisdictions and against less-than-top quality opposition.
Kincsem, a Hungarian mare who raced in the 1870s, was unbeaten in 54 starts, while Puerto Rica’s Camarero won 56 straight — in a career featuring 73 wins from 76 starts — in the 1950s.