In Zenyatta and Winx, Street Cry, Godolphin’s 2002 Dubai World Cup winner, sired two of the greatest mares ever to set foot on a racetrack. Yesterday Todd Sidor, in the first part of this celebration of their careers, examined the achievements of the mighty Zenyatta. Today, he turns his attention to Winx, voted World Horse of the Decade by TRC readers last December, who ran her final race a year ago this Saturday.
Tomorrow Sidor looks at some of the astonishing facts and figures that may go some way to explaining Winx’s extraordinary level of success.
Money well spent
In 2010, Street Cry was bred to Coolmore Australia’s Vegas Showgirl during one of his five stints in Australia.
Vegas Showgirl raced 35 times, winning seven and finishing in the money another nine, for a 45 percent strike rate. She raced at distances between four and eight furlongs and won up to seven furlongs on firm to heavy ground.
Winx was sold for $230,000 at the 2013 Gold Coast Magic Millions Yearling Sale, attracting 19 bids after kicking off at just $40,000.
Given her position as the world’s all-time highest-earning Thoroughbred racehorse, it appears to have been money well spent.
Winx won her first two starts as a 2-year old, and then her first stakes race at three, the G2 Furious Stakes, the first time Hugh Bowman was on board. However, early in her career no-one could foresee the competitor that she would become as she put together a record of 4-3-0 in her first ten starts. She certainly had talent, but her blazing speed had yet to be revealed.
Her all-time winning streak began in Queensland in the G3 Sunshine Coast Guineas with Larry Cassidy riding, taking on 3-year old males in the biggest field of her career, with 17 rivals. Next out, she won her first G1 - in the Queensland Oaks at Doomben.
Winx turned four and entered open company for the first time, winning the G2 Theo Marks Stakes at Rosehill in September 2015.
Her first Cox Plate came the following month. She took on 13 challengers, including multiple Australian G1 winners Criterion, Fawkner, Happy Trails, Hartnell, Kermadec and Preferment.
There was also Ireland’s Highland Reel, winner of the G1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park, Pornichet, a multiple Group winner in Europe who had been third in the French Guineas behind subsequent Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Karakontie, Mourinho, multiple Group winner Gailo Chop, who had finished second by less than two lengths to Prix d’Ispahan winner and eventual champion older horse Solow, and Australian multiple Group winner Complacent.
Winx settled midpack early and then got a dream trip out of the far turn, where she was able to move up on the rail and quickly moved ahead of Highland Reel with Criterion following her. Her incredible speed was on full display as she broke the track record at Moonee Valley, finishing in 2:02.98 for the ten furlongs. She became the first horse since Noholme in 1959 to win the Epsom Handicap-Cox Plate double.
After Winx’s mid-spring triumph, she had just three G1 wins and only two of them were against open company. In 2016, during Australia’s summer and early fall, she would double that total as she swept to victories in the Chipping Norton Stakes and George Ryder Stakes, in which Winx bested for the first time one of her most regular challengers, Happy Clapper, who finished fifth.
In their next race, Winx and Happy Clapper would face one of their largest open-company fields for the G1 Doncaster Mile at Randwick, when 15 horses entered the starting gate. Happy Clapper at that point had only won a G2, the Villiers Stakes there that past December. The field was made up of multiple G1 winners: Turn Me Loose, Kermadec, Volkstok'n'barrell, G1 winners StratumStar, First Seal (who had bested Winx at a mile as a 2-year old), and Ecuador, who had placed against Winx in the 2015 Epsom Handicap. Plus there were seven Group winners and a handicap winner.
Winx’s Doncaster Mile victory at four was something mares Sunline and More Joyous could not do. It was also trainer Chris Waller’s fourth consecutive victory in the race (Sacred Falls 2013-14 and Kermadec 2015) tying the mark set by Gai Waterhouse.
Her seven wins, including five G1s, were enough to earn Winx her first Australian Horse of the Year title.
Entering her 5-year-old season, Winx took two more G1s (the one-mile George Main Stakes and the 2000m Caulfield Stakes). She went into the defense of her first Cox Plate in the spring of 2016 having won 12 races in a row, including eight G1s. She would be up against some familiar rivals and some new ones as she faced a field of nine challengers, five of them multiple G1 winners.
The horses entered were: multiple G1 winners Hartnell, Yankee Rose, Lucia Valentina, Black Heart Bart, and Happy Trails, G1 winners Vadamos (who had lost by a half a length at Deauville to Godolphin rising star Ribchester at a mile before winning next out in the Prix du Moulin at Chantilly at the same distance), Hauraki, Awesome Rock, and Happy Clapper.
Hartnell made the first move at the 800m mark, but Winx followed closely and then passed him easily. Against this quality field, Winx won by her career-widest margin, a race record of eight lengths, while Godolphin’s Hartnell stayed on to finish second.
Winx would have an easy summer with some time off until an end-of-year push heading into the Australian winter. With usual preps in the Chipping Norton and George Ryder Stakes, Winx entered her first G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick in April ready to face a field of eight other horses, including Hartnell again, G1 winner The United States, two Group winners, and Sense Of Occasion, who would win a G1 next out, and Harlem. Winx swept easily by Hartnell again to win by more than five lengths.
Eight wins and six G1s, including a second consecutive Cox Plate and her first Queen Elizabeth, propelled her to a second Australian Horse of the Year title.
Beginning her 6-year-old season in September with an incredible 17 wins in a row already to her name, 11 of them G1s, Winx did not seem to be slowing down at all. She would have four races leading up to her three-peat attempt at the Cox Plate, including successful G1 targets in the George Main and her first attempt at Flemington’s Turnbull Stakes. Only Australian champion Kingston Town, who won the Cox Plate consecutively from 1982, had been able to win the race three times.
The 2017 Cox Plate field included multiple G1 winner Humidor, G1 winners Gailo Chop and Happy Clapper, and two Group winners. The contest was not as easy as it may have looked on paper, given that Humidor finished seven lengths behind Winx in the Turnbull Stakes. In the Cox Plate, he challenged Winx late and lost by a long neck.
In the process, Winx broke her stakes and track record set in the 2015 edition with a final time of 2:00.94 for the 2040 meters. Waller noted that, while he had been thinking she would lose eventually since no one expects a horse to win 22 races in a row, he was still relieved she was able to hold on for the win.
This was Winx’s longest season since her 3-year old days - a ten-race campaign. As autumn arrived, she won two G1s - the Chipping Norton and the George Ryder Stakes - after skipping the usual February prep as Hugh Bowman was suspended for the Apollo Stakes.
Her second Queen Elizabeth featured Humidor, Happy Clapper, Gailo Chop, and G1 winner Consensus, plus four other Group winners. In tying Black Caviar’s 25-race undefeated mark, Winx also secured her third consecutive Horse of the Year title.
After her third Cox Plate and second consecutive Queen Elizabeth, Winx’s team allowed for some speculation that she might ship to Europe for Royal Ascot, but the connections later decided to rest her in an effort to go for a fourth Cox Plate, which would break the record she now shared with Kingston Town.
She was now competing as a 7-year old, and the question was whether Winx might have lost a step. In her first two races of the season, she ran more than a half-second slower than the previous year, though the 2017 contests had tighter finishes.
A definitive answer would come in the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington, where, with 1000m left, she was tenth and, with 800m remaining, she was caught behind traffic. Bowman was still sitting chilly on her with 600m remaining while Trap For Fools took the lead, and with 400m left Winx was still ninth. Bowman started to look for space to make a move with 300m remaining. With 200m to go, Winx finally moved to the center of the track and, in that last 50m, she took the lead, going clear by a length over stablemate Youngstar.
She ran her first 800m in 50.82 secs. She rocketed over the last 800m in 43.98 secs, which is a 40-length difference. Her final 600m (three furlongs) were run in a dizzying 32.21seconds at the end of a 2000m race. Her second-to-last furlong was clocked at 10.6 seconds.
Her top speed in the race was 42 mph. In fact, Winx’s final 1200m, 1000m, 800m, 600m, 400m and 200m were the fastest on the day in any races. And remember, her race was over 2000m (ten furlongs). There were five races between 1000m to 1400m at the track that day.
Winx’s connections indicated the Turnbull was a perfect preparation for an unprecedented fourth consecutive Cox Plate. She had not lost a step, but had the Turnbull Stakes taken too much out of her with that amazing move?
Her next race at Moonee Valley would provide the answer.
The 2018 Cox Plate field, the smallest Winx had faced in the race, included only seven competitors, including one that failed to finish. They were headed by Godolphin’s globetrotting multiple G1 winner Benbatl, who had just won the 2000m Caulfield Stakes, as well as the US$6m Dubai Turf at 1900m, and the Dallmayr Preis at 2000m. (This year, he ran a gutsy 2¾-length third to Maximum Security on dirt in the US$20m Saudi Cup.)
Humidor was back for another crack at the mare after adding another G1 win to his resume. Then there were Savvy Coup (G1s at 2040m and 2400m), D’Argento (G1 at 2000m), Avilius (already a Group winner who would go on to win G1s at 2000m and 2400m the following fall and another at 1600m in September 2019), and Aidan O’Brien’s Irish Derby runner-up Rostroprovich.
The track was slightly favoring speed, and Benbatl tried to make the most of it, moving for the lead, but at the 600-meter mark Winx eased up alongside him and went by.
She had another mark never achieved in racing history. Four Cox Plate victories. What more did she need to prove?
Retirement was considered for a while, but it was decided she would race out her 7-year old season, finishing in the Queen Elizabeth if she remained healthy and competitive.
Entering 2019, Winx would set a stakes record at 1400m with her third Apollo Stakes victory. In the Chipping Norton, Happy Clapper would alter his closing style, taking the lead and forcing Winx to come after him, which she did, winning by just under two lengths.
In doing so, she bested Irish hurdler Hurricane Fly’s record 22 G1 wins with her 23rd win at that level.
Then Winx ran an impressive time over heavy and tiring ground at her home track of Rosehill, taking her fourth George Ryder in her swansong performance. Nevertheless, she came out of the race well and pointed to the much anticipated Queen Elizabeth finale at Randwick.
The race would feature eight rivals. Hartnell, Happy Clapper and Harlem (who had added two Australia Cup victories at 2000m since he last faced Winx in 2017) were there, along with new shooters Danzdanzdance (G1 wins at 1600m and 2000m), Shillelagh (runner-up in the Australia Cup), and three other Group winners.
In winning her 33rd straight race, Winx also set the world record for earnings by a racehorse and she added to her G1 wins record.
A perfect end to a remarkable career.
One of Happy Clapper’s jockeys, Sam Clipperton, once noted that were it not for Winx, Happy Clapper would likely be Australia’s champion given he took on the mare ten times (nine in G1s), finishing second five times and third once. Happy Clapper is a talented horse who just last year set a track record in the G1 Canterbury Stakes at 1300m and had won three G1s in his own right between 1300m and 1600m.
Of Winx’s regular rivals, Hartnell is also a track record holder at 1600m - for his victory in the Epsom Handicap at Randwick in September 2018.
Notable Winx facts
She raced 43 times, winning 37 (86%) and placing 40 times (93%) with a record of 43-37-3-0. 41 times she raced in Group level stakes races, winning 35 (85%). 27 times she raced in G1s, winning 25 (93%).
She raced twice against males as a 3-year-old (G2 Phar Lap Stakes and the G3 Sunshine Coast Guineas), and 36 times against males in open company. She never lost against them.
She defeated 289 total runners.
She defeated 185 individual horses.
She defeated 120 individual Group-level winners.
She defeated 71 individual G1 winners.
She won by a total margin of 85.05 lengths in her 37 victories, or .14 miles. Her average margin of victory was 2⅓ lengths. Her widest margin of victory was eight lengths set in her second G1 victory in the Cox Plate on October 22, 2016. Her narrowest winning margin was a neck in her first open company race, the G2 Theo Marks Stakes, at 1300m on September 15, 2015, and in the G2 Warwick Stakes, at 1400m on August 19, 2017.
She raced at eight different tracks: Caulfield, Flemington and Moonee Valley in Victoria; Doomben and the Sunshine Coast in Queensland; and Randwick, Rosehill and Warwick Farm in New South Wales.
She lost six races to four horses in her 43 starts. The last horse to beat Winx was G1 winner Gust Of Wind back in April 2015. Gust Of Wind also defeated multiple G1 winners Luciana Valentina and Hartnell, who Winx has also beaten, Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist and G1 winner Who Shot The Barman.
The others who defeated Winx were G1 winner Fenway, China Horse Club’s G1 winner First Seal three times, and G2 winner Adrift, who later became a multiple G1 winner after facing Winx. Winx subsequently defeated Gust Of Wind and First Seal, but never faced Fenway or Adrift again.
Her unbeaten streak goes from May 16, 2015, to April 13, 2019, or 1,422 days. Black Caviar’s unbeaten mark lasted 1,456 days, but Winx has raced uninterrupted, whereas Black Caviar took six months off after returning to Australia from Royal Ascot with an injury. Coincidentally, the great mares have a final coincidence in the date of their final race, April 13. Black Caviar’s was in the 2013 TJ Smith Stakes.
Winx set two track records during her undefeated campaign - her 2015 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley (2:02.98) which she broke in her 2017 Cox Plate win (2:02.94). In her 2019 debut at Randwick in the G2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) she set a new stakes record with a time of 1:20.88, which is half a second off the 1:20.33 track record.
She has consistently been rated as one of the best racehorses in the world. For 2018, she was ranked joint Longines World’s Best Racehorse, alongside British champion Cracksman, with a mark of 130.
In 2017, she was rated 132, behind only Arrogate (134), and was the top-ranked turf horse in the world.
In 2016, she was also on 132, which also made her the top turf horse in the world, third overall behind Arrogate (134) and California Chrome (133).
Winx was ridden by six different jockeys (in chronological order): Jason Collett (5-2-1-0); Hugh Bowman (33-32-1-0); Tommy Berry (2-1-0-0); Joao Moreira (1-0-1); Larry Cassidy (1-1); and James McDonald (1-1).
She is just the third horse (after Black Caviar and Sunline) to be inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame while still racing.
Winx broke a tie with Sunline and Black Caviar for three Australian Horse of the Year wins. Last year, Winx broke a tie with Sunline, who had twice won the Australian Champion Middle Distance Racehorse award, when she won that for a third time. She now holds four wins. (2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19).
With 37 total wins, she retired on the same number of as Australian legend Phar Lap.
Her 25 G1 wins consist of four Cox Plates* (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018), four Chipping Nortons* (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), four George Ryders* (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019), three Queen Elizabeths* (2017, 2018, 2019), three George Mains* (2016, 2017, 2018) and two Turnbulls* (2017, 2018)*, plus a Doncaster Mile (2016), a Caulfield Stakes* (2016), an Epsom Handicap* (2015), a Winx Stakes* (2018) and a Queensland Oaks (2015).
*denotes open company
Zenyatta and Winx: shared accomplishments
Puerto Rico’s Camarero holds the world record of 56 consecutive wins before he lost, followed by Hungarian mare Kincsem with an undefeated record in 54 starts, before Puerto Rican horses Cofresi (49), Condado (44) and Galgo Jnr (39) and then, sixth all-time Winx (33). Zenyatta is tied for 11th
Between September 17, 2017, and October 27, 2018, Winx set the world record for consecutive G1 wins at ten. Zenyatta, Frankel and Hurricane Fly, who all won nine successive G1s, and Black Caviar with eight, are the closest Thoroughbreds.
Winx set the record for total G1 wins by a Thoroughbred with 25 victories. Zenyatta is tied for fourth in total G1 wins at thirteen with Bayakoa and Sunline.
Zenyatta was the inaugural recipient of the Vox Populi Award in 2010, and Winx was the 2018 recipient, becoming the first and only international horse to win it.
Street Cry's wonderful legacy
Street Cry blessed us with not one, but two magnificent female progeny. Their legacy lasted from the moment of Zenyatta’s birth in 2003 to the present day, with Winx currently in foal to superstar sire I Am Invincible until now.
In fact, Winx was conceived in September 2010, while Zenyatta was still completing her Horse of the Year season.
Zenyatta is presently in foal to Candy Ride with a filly expected in the near future.
So, while Street Cry is no longer with us, having passed three days after Winx’s third birthday on September 17, 2014, for the past 17 years there has not been one day where a magnificent Street Cry female has not been with us - growing, training, racing or breeding.
TOMORROW: How Winx was able to run faster for longer than most other horses
Todd Sidor, an attorney by trade, has helped produce equine law seminars, and continues to own horses as a member of racing partnerships. His more than two decades’ passion and respect for the sport of horse racing will always make him, first and foremost, a racing enthusiast.