Winx wins her 20th straight race in the Colgate Optic White Stakes Sept. 16

Winx wins her 20th straight race in the Colgate Optic White Stakes Sept. 16

Grant Guy

United States Stop in 2018 Unlikely for Winx

If the unlikely were to happen, Saratoga Race Course might be best fit.

While trainer Chris Waller announced plans for a European campaign next year for Winx, the chances of the Australian Horse of the Year heading to the United States would be remote. But if the unlikely were to happen, the Saratoga Race Course meet might be the best fit.

Waller has outlined an overseas campaign that could extend over a couple of months and focus on a trip to Royal Ascot. The U.S. would be a longshot, but if she were to work in that trip, a stop at Saratoga would be more likely than the Breeders' Cup. 

Winx's part-owner Peter Tighe enjoyed a visit to Saratoga in 2017 and the New York Racing Association could make a pitch to have her fly in for an appearance.

Winx grabbed the racing world's attention with her 20-race winning streak, but calls for her to put the Breeders Cup on her agenda would be impractical. Australia's major racing carnival runs from September to November, where Winx has won 10 races during her winning run the past three years. To race in the Breeders' Cup, she would have to give up racing in Australia during that time to head into quarantine. 

Australian quarantine laws also require at least one month out of the horse population upon return, which would affect the chances of an autumn campaign in February through April.

While the Breeders' Cup is the only U.S. meeting with traction for Australian racing fans, apart from the Triple Crown races, there is zest for the Royal Ascot meeting for Australian champions ever since Choisir won the King's Stand (G2) and Golden Jubilee (G1) stakes in 2003. The meet's timing is perfect for Australian horses and allows them to not to miss major carnivals at home.

It's a meeting Waller covets, after he had Brazen Beau run second in the 2015 Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1). He named Royal Ascot as a target for Winx.

"We want to give people some indication about the prospect of an overseas campaign and what it might look like, as there has been a lot of talk about it," Waller said. "We would take her to Royal Ascot for either the (one-mile) Queen Anne Stakes (G1) or the Diamond Jubilee.

"We might do it the Australian way (in the Diamond Jubilee) and show she could sprint off a break. The six furlongs there is a real test and would suit her." 

As for a Saratoga trip after Royal Ascot? That added travel would figure to make runs at Newmarket, Glorious Goodwood, and perhaps Deauville more attractive. Still, that likely schedule won't stop race meets from around the world courting her connections.

As for this year, plans call for Winx to have her next run in the group 1 Turnbull Stakes Oct. 7 at Flemington in Melbourne. It will be her final lead-up for the William Hill W.S. Cox Plate (G1) at Moonee Valley Oct. 28, a race she has won the past two years.

Chris Roots is chief racing writer for the Sydney Morning Herald