Updated: Winx's winning farewell,  Randwick packed to rafters

Winx bows out with win 33 in a row, champion of the turf


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Winx accepts the cheers of the crowd after winning the Queen Elizabeth at Randwick, her last race start, and her 33rd win in a row.

Winx accepts the cheers of the crowd after winning the Queen Elizabeth at Randwick, her last race start, and her 33rd win in a row.

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Updated: photo tribute to great mare: her 33 wins

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They stopped the sheep judging at Sydney Royal, people stood up and applauded, some cried, many lined Alison Road to watch the great mare Winx depart her race career a winner at Royal Randwick.

Such was the relief that she would not be beaten, people simply clapped as the mare won by one-and a half lengths from a defiant Japanese raider, Kluger.

The dream was to be. The farewell was to be the fairytale, she didn't let anyone down. Even the Prime Minister Scott Morrison was on hand at Randwick to watch the mare's final race.

Jockey Hugh Bowman did another lap of the straight after the win to let the huge sell-out crowd see the mare on a race track for the last time. Trainer Chris Waller was speechless again.

If former Orange boy Richard Treweeke had his way, the wonder mare Winx would continue racing.

The part-owner was in a race himself to get better before the race but couldn't make it.

The champion mare bowed out with her 33rd consecutive win as she kept her Queen Elizabeth Stakes crown.

Winx wins the 2019 Queen Elizabeth.

Winx wins the 2019 Queen Elizabeth.

Meantime, the great mare, rated the equal best racehorse in the world, put in a stirring track gallop during the week, but then lashed out with her hind legs in the mounting yard at Rosehill, leaving gasps from onlookers and sending shudders through the racing industry banking on a big finale at Randwick.

Part owner Richard Treweeke with his friend Dorothy watch Winx win another race. Due to illness he has not seen her race for more than two years. He watched on the television again.

Part owner Richard Treweeke with his friend Dorothy watch Winx win another race. Due to illness he has not seen her race for more than two years. He watched on the television again.

​But her fond part-owner wishes Winx would keep on kicking on, not at signs, but on the track. She has immense value as a broodmare - in the order of $50m, but Mr Treweeke wishes the great career could keep on rolling.

She's apples: Dunedoo's Hugh Bowman on board the amazing Winx, one of the great combinations of the Australian turf.

She's apples: Dunedoo's Hugh Bowman on board the amazing Winx, one of the great combinations of the Australian turf.

Treweeke, 88, a rouseabout in his younger days, was in a battle against time to get better to watch his great mare strike up 33 wins in succession. He's been in bed in his Sydney home most of this week and suffers from giddy attacks when he gets up.

Mr Treweeke is a fan of The Land and buys it every week. After working on sheep stations, he later left for the city starting a successful career in advertising, but always maintaining his rural contacts, especially in Orange, and his interest in horses.

He hasn't seen Winx race live for some time, but he says he'd like to see her carry on. "She's broken a track record and a race record in her last three starts so I don't see why she can't, but it's not my call. I think Waller should decide."

Winx is rated one of the modern turf champions and the best horse in the world.

"A lot of people love her and she's got a big following."

Related: Winx's part-owner grew up in bush, overcame family tragedy

Winx's first win in her winning sequence of 32 wins. Sunshine Coast May 16, 2015.

"It's a tough race (the Queen Elizabeth), but I know she'll perform."

It's not known which broodmare stud Winx will go to after she stops racing, with the owners expected to keep some share of the mare. She has been spelled at the boutique Hermitage Thoroughbreds spelling operation at The Oaks, near Oakdale, outside of Sydney for all of her career.

The spelling operation, and farm, owned by Hong Kong interests, is managed by former trainer Oliver Koolman, a good friend of trainer Chris Waller. Koolman has seen Winx through all her spells in her career, with the massive duty of making sure she is healthy and fit for training before she returns to the track.

Hermitage Thoroughbreds, where Winx spells. Pictured is Karen Koolman, on another Waller star, The Autumn Sun, owned by Hermitage Thoroughbreds. Oliver Koolman is the managing director of the operation.

Hermitage Thoroughbreds, where Winx spells. Pictured is Karen Koolman, on another Waller star, The Autumn Sun, owned by Hermitage Thoroughbreds. Oliver Koolman is the managing director of the operation.

Chris Waller has implicitly trusted his Kiwi mate with the big task of caring for Winx and Koolman said it was a big thing to know "Chris is always on the end of the phone when I need to talk to him."

The key to Winx's spelling, after all the hype and pressure of racing, is finding her own peace and quiet at Hermitage. She has her own paddock, which is a converted lawn, and she enjoys being out in the paddock all day feeding on the paddock clover.

"She'd stay out there all day and night if we let her, even in a storm," says Koolman.

"I think it's been very important for her having that isolation."

Koolman was astounded to see the mare lash out near his mate Chris this week. "It's better to be kicked by a slow horse than a fast horse," Koolman joked, fully aware how dangerous a kick from a horse can be.

Koolman reflected on Winx's career, saying one of the great wins was when she bombed the start in the Warwick Stakes, then picked up and won by a smidgin. "Only great horses can show that determination," he said.

Winners. Winx and Bowman.

Winners. Winx and Bowman.

The path to getting Winx ready for racing has not been all smooth sailing. "She's gone through many things like other horses, she's had her hiccups as well, such as stone bruises, but things like that she recovers from, it doesn't upset her like it might other horses," Koolman said.

"We've had her here since she was a filly, which I think is important, she always  comes back and settles into the farm routine. I think that's part of the key to her contentment, it's a small place, with a small number of staff, she's left alone and it's just easy to manage. She gets to put her feet up, and she'll spend all day just grazing on the clover out in the paddock. We built the paddock for her and it will be named after her. We are a completely isolated farm here so there's no problem with other horses bringing in something that might affect her. She's essentially quarantined."

Winx was in a mood this week.

Winx was in a mood this week.

The biggest job for Koolman is making sure she doesn't put on too much weight - something that worried them just before her last return to racing. "She's put on weight the whole way through her career, and we've had to manage that. She put on even more this time and we had to tweek her feed." Winx is fed a Mitavite product with Mitavite supplements, but her main feed is just hay and pasture. "We don't use high grain feeds here, we're not into that," Koolman said. 

Koolman said it was great working with Chris Waller, who was a "stockman and a horseman". "I get magnificent confidence from the ownership group and from Chris," he said.

"It's great to see her going out at the top. Let's hope she passes on that class to her progeny.

"She has a unique racing style and she seems to defy a lot of the racing theories. She's a one-off, she's once in a lifetime, once in a century horse, she's all of those things."

And given her lashing out this week, and only used to being in a paddock by herself, how will she go when she starts her broodmare career, where she will have to be a bit more accepting of other horses ?

"We're definitely going to have to choose her paddock partner well. Definitely no shoes on."

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