Champion mare Winx extended her unbeaten streak to 20 with an ease not seen in her other wins this campaign, running away for a soft victory in Saturday’s Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Randwick.
As has become customary in three starts this preparation, the mare’s rivals – including last start’s would-be usurper Red Excitement - set a solid tempo and appeared to have the daughter of Street Cry off the bit and chasing at the 600 metre pole.
But jockey Hugh Bowman didn’t fret, allowing the mare to work through her gears before letting loose with the turn of speed that has been her trademark in 13 Group 1 scalps to wrap up the race in the space of a furlong.
Pat Webster’s in-form gelding Happy Clapper fought on gamely to hold second, with stablemate Foxplay a further four lengths adrift in third place.
Trainer Chris Waller said he would likely give Winx one more run before her tilt at an historic third consecutive Cox Plate but refused to confirm that it would be in either the $500,000 Craven Stakes (2000m) at Randwick or the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), both on October 14.
“We should respect Happy Clapper because he is a Doncaster placegetter and a very good horse in his own right and we had to fight to get past him.
“I’d say she’ll have one more run up here if we can and at some stage she’ll head to Melbourne but we’ll lock it in over the next week.
“The first Cox Plate she won it off three runs, next Cox Plate she won it off four and she will probably run in it off a fifth run this time.”
While he was at the mare to improve her position well before the turn, Bowman said he remained confident she would respond as she’d done in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) and the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) this campaign.
“Today I expected to be closer to the speed but the pace was strong,” Bowman said.
“At the top of the straight she had a lot of ground to make up but after her last two performances I knew she could do it, I am just so proud of her.