While researching a recent story about a silage donation - homegrown at Hermitage Thoroughbreds at The Oaks, I was happily confronted with a wonderful site of mighty mare Winx leisurely grazing in a paddock with new "mate" gelding Kiawah.
Being a longtime thoroughbred lover, it was also such a bonus for me to see her looking so happy and contented, after bringing such joy to her owners, connections and millions of fans, not only around Australia but across the globe.
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For a horse who has not seen the stars since she was a three-year-old, and not had any "free" horse-touching time, it was heartwarming to see her in a relaxed paddock atmosphere.
Taking it in her stride, she was freely mingling with her new found friend sharing the same paddock, this is a whole new way of life for the $26 million earner.
According to Olly Koolman, racing manager of Hermitage Thoroughbreds, it was only the second day Winx and Kiawah had been in the paddock together.
"He (Kiawah) is very laid back and plays nanny sometimes to our young horses," Olly said.
When training at Rosehill, Olly had prepared the now 18-year-old Desert King gelding who won four races, had 10 placings for $103,240.
Olly and I could see Winx happily mooching around with Kiawah, being totally relaxed, grazing, and reverting to the natural horse habits of nuzzling and mutual grooming normally displayed by contented horses.
They had obviously come to some "horsey arrangement" that only the pair could understand.
"My observation of seeing her siding up to Kiawah whilst eating and sharing the same feed bin at the same time, indicates to me that she will ably take on her new role of being a mother," Olly said.
"She has fondly taken to Kiawah very quickly."
This is just a taste of reality for the seven-year-old mare, the owners are yet to decide and announce which stallion she will visit this year for her maiden season at stud.
Winx to stand over ground
Meanwhile, Winx is to have her name permanently immortalised at Randwick, with the recent announcement from the Australian Turf Club (ATC) of it a new public spectator facility to be built and named in honour of the mighty mare.
The new facility will seat about 5000 racegoers and will be built on the Leger Lawn adjacent to the Queen Elizabeth Stand.
It will also be used by the ATC year-round for non-race events such as conferences, trade shows, exhibitions and university activities.
The project is a joint initiative of the ATC and Racing NSW and will be funded through the Randwick Capital Fund.
Winx won 20 races at Randwick during her career, including three successive Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes, four consecutive TAB Chipping Norton Stakes, three Colgate Optic White George Main Stakes, The Star Doncaster Mile in 2016 and the TAB Epsom Handicap in 2015.
The ATC is aiming to have the Winx Stand open for business for the running of The Everest in October 2020.
Also of note is that the ATC is progressing with plans to build a statue of Winx at her home course of Rosehill Gardens.
The ATC chairman Matthew McGrath said Winx's achievements provided us with a lifetime of memories with her name linked and honoured permanently at Rosehill and Randwick.
Vale Boyd Gageler
Two months prior to his 97th birthday, Hunter Valley breeder and racegoer Henry "Boyd" Gageler passed-away in late April.
Raised on a dairy and horse farm at Sandy Hollow, Mr Gageler spent all his life in the Hunter Valley and bred, owned and raced horses for more than 50 years.
The first horse he bred and owned was Silver Cape (by Redmead) who won 25 races, including several country cups.
Mr Gageler also bred and sold two yearlings in Sydney who raced on as Stars And Stripes and Iga Ninja, who contested in Golden Slippers, the latter a black stallion by Biscay's Sylvester who advanced to sire winners from stud duty.
Made a life member of the Muswellbrook Race Club on his 90th birthday, Mr Gageler also operated his own thoroughbred stud in the Muswellbrook district - Rosehill Stud, where he stood several stallions over a long period, including Irish bred Redmead, Lord Pakistan and Sylvester.