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Winx wins the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/04/2017 Caryl Williamson

Winx and her jockey Hugh Bowman have made it look easy, cruising to victory in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes while the mare's nervous trainer has fought a battle with his nerves.

Chris Waller admits the responsibility of caring for the world's best mare is one he doesn't want to give to anyone else but it takes a toll.

It all came to a head on Saturday at Randwick as the cool and calm jockey went about his business, steering the mare to her 17th consecutive win and her 12th at Group One level in the $4 million showpiece.

Waller sat watching in relative seclusion as the crowd of 26,801 cheered her home to a 5-1/4 length win over Hartnell.

"It is a big relief," Waller said.

"I'm a racing fan and I am as much a fan of Winx as anybody.

"I've been pretty nervous for a about a year now and I was nervous today.

"I know we've all done what we can do to have her fit and well but you can't actually ask her how she's feeling.

"And one day she will get beaten."

That seems unlikely while Bowman is around to control her on the track.

"I wouldn't say it was a high-pressure race today," Bowman said.

"Everyone found their spot and even slowed it up mid-race and it was a bit of a sprint home.

"I don't think you see the best of her when it is that sort of race. She is obviously still good and she wheeled passed them at the top of the straight.

"Honestly I think when she gets in a high-pressure race, when there is a lot of pace from the start like there was in last year's Cox Plate, that's when you see the best of her."

While the public has adopted Winx as their own, Bowman has a more intimate relationship with her.

"I could really feel the crowd's love for her," he said.

"She's the ultimate professional.

"I love her."

The Randwick meeting signalled the second anniversary of the last time Winx was beaten when she ran second to Gust Of Wind in the Australian Oaks.

As Waller downplayed his role in the Winx story he said Bowman was a big player.

"He's definitely part of Winx," he said.

"I think the story should be about Winx, but Hugh and what he has done is very special."

Winx is now second only to three-time Melbourne Cup winner Makybe Diva on the Australasian earnings list with the promise of more to come.

"She will go for a break now and we will map out her campaign towards a third Cox Plate," Waller said.

"It will be similar to last year and we will look at other options after the spring."

Those options could include racing overseas with Royal Ascot organisers keen to get her to England next year.

But for the time being, Waller will breath a sigh of relief with his wife Stephanie predicting he might kick his heels up on Saturday night.

"He might have two beers to celebrate instead of one," she said.

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