Chris Waller has explained why the draw of Royal Ascot – or other big meetings right across the world – was never quite enough to attract Winx from her native Australia.
The best time to have considered Britain’s biggest Flat racing festival was two years ago – but equally America, Dubai and Hong Kong would have loved to have had the wonder mare grace any of their tracks.
“The right thing would have been to brought her over as a five-year-old, but she is now seven almost eight,” said Waller.
“The expectation from her fanbase in Australia is to have her finish her racing in Australia. If she came racing over here she would have to go back through a change of season. But then why she should she come to England, why not the USA or Dubai, who deserves to have her?
“Meydan or Hong Kong would have been more realistic for her in terms of training and if we were driven by prize-money. If it was prestige we were after it would have been Royal Ascot or for a groundbreaking race it would have been America.”
Waller was speaking after Winx had been named the joint-best horse anywhere on the planet, together with the John Gosden-trained Cracksman, in the 2018 Longines World’s Best Racehorses at a ceremony in London.
She was last seen claiming a historic fourth victory in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in October – her 29th successive win and her 33rd from 39 career starts overall.
Waller believes this latest accolade is something special, even for a horse that has won everything put in front of her.
“This is as good as it gets (winning horse of the year). It is a very rewarding achievement,” he said.
“It was very special the fourth Cox Plate, but Winx has been a special horse every time she goes to the races. There is an expectation back home she should win races.”
Though her career will inevitably draw to a close, no date has been set.
“Her preparation has gone the same as last year. She was still growing into her six-year-old career, which is quite remarkable for a horse her age,” said Waller.
“We were looking for signs of slowing down, but she is a sound horse and her legs are great.
“We’ve never set a final date and, as we have done over past 12 months, we will take it race by race.
“It is all about the next race (February 16), then after that we will assess whether we will go on. There is a four-race programme in Sydney if we want to take it.”