Just as hopes were beginning to rise that the remarkable Winx might travel to Royal Ascot in June for the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes, trainer Chris Waller has released a statement confirming that the Australian star will not be leaving home soil.
Speculation about Winx had reached fever pitch of late and seems to have prompted connections to nip things in the bud before things got completely out of hand. The winner of her last 24 races, including a remarkable 17 at Group 1 level, is one of the finest horses to race in Australia at around a mile for many years. Her latest win in the Group 1 George Ryder Strakes at Rosehill established a new world record for the number of Group 1 victories by a single horse.
Whether or not she would have been good enough to beat the cream of the British and European crop in their own backyard is another matter, as Betting.net highlighted last week, but the prospect of seeing the six-year-old daughter of Street Cry race in Britain would have been a highlight of the always outstanding Royal Ascot fixture.
“Following lengthy discussions between the owners, Hugh Bowman [jockey] and I, it has been decided that Winx will remain in Australia following the Queen Elizabeth Stakes held on April 14 at Royal Randwick and not embark on an international campaign,” Waller announced overnight in a press release to the international media.
“It is our plan to continue to race her into the Spring and hopefully Australia can play host to international visitors during our carnival. We are humbled by the level of support, respect and compassion that has been offered by the international representatives looking to attract Winx and congratulate each of them for the professionalism displayed towards us during this process.
“As her trainer, it is my responsibility to continue to carefully manage her career as it enters the twilight phase and this has seen in-depth dialogue between her owners and I as our joint decision was made. As a group we have all held ambitions to travel horses internationally and it has been our dream to have a horse race in front of the Queen at Royal Ascot, however this decision is not about us and must be based in the best interests of Winx.”
The ante-post market for the Queen Anne Stakes has yet to be fully reformed in light of Winx’s confirmed absence.