Winx swims at Kyeemagh Beach the day after winning her 18th successive race, the Warwick Stakes

Winx swims at Kyeemagh Beach the day after winning her 18th successive race, the Warwick Stakes

Bronwen Healy

Winx Aims to Match Zenyatta's 19 Straight Wins

Winx has Zenyatta in her sights as she lines up in the Chelmsford Stakes.

Winx has Zenyatta in her sights as she lines up in the Sept. 2 Chelmsford Stakes (G2) at Randwick.

Remarkably a run of 18 consecutive wins isn't the best win streak by a daughter of Street Cry. That distinction belongs to 2010 American Horse of the Year Zenyatta, who won the first 19 races of her career.

While Winx lost some races earlier in her career in 2014-2015, she could match Zenyatta's run of 19 straight wins with a victory in Saturday's Chelmsford. 

Magic Bloodstock Racing, Richard Treweeke, and Debbie Kepitis's Winx enters off a remarkable win in the Bob Ingham Warwick Stakes (G2) a fortnight ago that took her to 18 graded successes in a row. Zenyatta started her career with a maiden and allowance win before securing 17 straight group/graded stakes wins. Only Black Caviar at 23 consecutive group/graded wins is above Winx.

Winx will add a new wrinkle when 11 rivals face her in Saturday's 1,600-meter race for 3-year-olds and older. Trainer Chris Waller has decided to apply earmuffs during the Chelmsford after his star bombed the Warwick start by five lengths and had to draw on all her reserves to keep the streak alive.

"Hugh Bowman said after that it's the first time we've had her up to top speed so it was good to see she can run off amazing sectional times," Waller said. "Although it was wind assisted, I don't think I've ever had a horse go that fast."

Winx has improved with benefit of that run, which was her first start since April. The mile certainly is to her liking, as she has won six of her seven attempts at the distance. Still, the pressure that builds with every win and attention that centers on Winx's every appearance, is mounting on Waller. He "doesn't want her to have an excuse," if or when defeat comes.

The earmuffs are a regular part of Winx's trackwork and race day until she leaves the parade, when they are usually removed.

"She works every day in them, from the day she comes in from the spelling farm to the day she goes out," Waller said. "It just helps block out the background noise. We are doing something different. We're leaving the earmuffs on during the race."

Winx has always been a worry out of the gates, and the earmuffs are hoped to dole rocking and rolling noises and clatter of the barriers.

"The only time I'm nervous when I'm on her back is in the barriers, because she does have the tendency to be a little bit anxious and although the timing was most inappropriate last start, we are hoping that it won't happen again," Bowman said. "It's just a case of Winx being Winx and we're aware of it and always have been. She knows it's game time. She is obviously very intelligent, so she just wants to get on with the job.

"When the gates open she is actually really relaxed and that's why I don't get too concerned about tactics with her. I just let her be where she is comfortable and I find if I do that for the first half of the race, we have the engine to capitalize on whatever needs to be done in the second half of the race. She's a champion and overcomes adversity, but hopefully she doesn't have to do it again."

While Winx remains the big story, the first group 1 of the new Australian season, the New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes, will take place at Caulfield in Melbourne Saturday, where many of the horses dodging the champion will meet. There are nine group 1 winners in the field with Vega Magic the early favorite in front of Le Romain.  

Chris Roots is chief racing writer for the Sydney Morning Herald