Winx: would anybody dare head to Australia to take her on?
PICTURE: Getty Images
By Mark Scully in Melbourne 7:00AM 24 OCT 2016
IT IS hard to imagine there is a long queue of owners and trainers waiting to bring their horses from Europe to have a shot at Winx but that is exactly what the Australian Turf Club (ATC) is hoping to encourage in the next few months.
After saying on at least two occasions that a trip to Royal Ascot was on the table for Saturday’s brilliant Cox Plate winner Winx, trainer Chris Waller now appears to have poured cold water on the idea.
“The simple fact is Winx deserves to be racing where she is at her absolute best and that is in her backyard,” he told ABC Radio.
“As soon as you travel a horse to the northern hemisphere you start affecting their body clock. It’s going to be hard to get us on that plane.”
With that in mind, the ATC has now turned its attention to bringing the mountain to Mohammed and chief executive Darren Pearce is hoping to attract horses from Europe and elsewhere to The Championships in Sydney next April.
“Imagine the national pride if Winx was able to maintain her unbeaten record against international competitors in Sydney during the autumn carnival and The Championships,” Pearce told The Age.
Imagination might be the only way that happens as attempting to convince those responsible for Europe’s best to forego the first half of their summer to travel at great expense for a Winx whipping is going to be a very hard sell.
Still in awe of Winx
On the subject of Winx, please indulge me a little longer in looking back on what was a sensational display.
Make no mistake, this was one of the great ‘I was there’ moments of a generation and the magnificent atmosphere of the Moonee Valley cauldron only served to enhance what amounted to sensory overload from my position near the winner’s enclosure.
The pursuit of perfection is what everybody is in this game for and what Winx did the other day is about as close to that as you are ever likely to see.
I am extremely lucky to do this job and I have never felt so more strongly than when watching, with my jaw nearly on the floor, as racing history was re-written yards before my eyes.
Quite simply, I will never forget what happened on Saturday and I doubt any of the 26,007 other people who were there will either.
Waller has revealed Winx picked up a minor abrasion to her hind leg in the Cox Plate and the MacKinnon Stakes in two weeks’ time is off the agenda.
She will spend a “reasonable period” resting with a few trips to the beach for a dip to help the cut heal naturally. She’s certainly deserving of some downtime.
Flemington on the upgrade
Hot on the heels of reports of a total redesign of Moonee Valley, Flemington on Monday released plans for a new $ 128 million Club Stand.
The builders will move in as soon as we all get out the way after November 5, with the project scheduled for completion in time for the 2018 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
“The world-class facility has been designed to provide an unrivalled event experience,” said the Victoria Racing Club’s CEO Simon Love.
“Guests will be entertained and can enjoy an incredible variety of restaurants and bars across five levels, including a rooftop garden that boasts outstanding views of the famous track and Melbourne’s city skyline.”