This week it seems everyone in the country wants to talk about Winx, and why not – there seems to have been a plethora of “once in a lifetime” horses in recent years, but she has undoubtedly been the most once in a lifetime of all of them. Only the Pope has sold more tickets at Randwick in the last 50 years, and I suspect given recent events, he might find it tougher to do now than it used to be. Racing will miss Winx horribly when she is gone.
I initially thought that this week I would leave all the discussion and fresh insights on the wonder mare to popular racing publications like Vogue and Home Beautiful. What else could the Lighthouse add that a supermodel hadn’t already said?
But when the inestimably wise Mrs Lighthouse said to me, “Lighthouse, are you going to write about WInx this week – even the Prime Minister is talking about her?”, I knew that I could not ignore her. I’m in the early stages of this gig and I need readers.
So in spite of my natural aversion to paying attention to politicians, particularly coming into an election, I checked out what the renowned racing authority Scott Morrison had said about Winx. Apparently he opined that Winx and her connections epitomized his battler’s philosophy of “a fair go for those that have a go”.
What the hell did he mean by this?
Did he mean that the Lighthouse’s of this world, those of us who have bred, raised and raced horses that turned out to be losers, were not having a go? Are you only a battler having a go when your bargain basement $230,000 yearling becomes the best horse in the world? I initially felt humiliated and a failure and my first thought was that I needed to spend more on yearlings.
But having thought some more about the PM’s words, it dawned on me that maybe he had seen something I had not – that in spite of her family connections and outward façade of prosperity, I have only ever seen Debbie Kepitis at the races in the one outfit, a clear sign of financial stress. And I realized that back in 2013, perhaps she had put the last of her chips on buying into that Street Cry filly in a desperate have a go attempt to get off struggle street, and that she had triumphed. And I was proud to be Australian again.
Come the spring Winx will embark on a new life as a broodmare. Call the Lighthouse crazy, but I am hoping that she will steer around the Hunter Valley and big budget bluebloods like Fastnet Rock and Snitzel and honour her battler roots.
In the 2015 Sunshine Coast Guineas, the first win of her epic streak, she beat a Choisir colt called Worthy Cause into 3rd place. Worthy Cause was a horse any owner would be proud to call his/her own – sold as a yearling for $26,000, 25 starts, 5 wins (2 black type), 500k in earnings and never ran a bad race in his life – a truly solid citizen, but no Winx. He is in the early stages of a stud career, so far attracting modest books of mares at around $5000 a throw. He was the stepladder on which Winx placed her hind legs as she launched her ascent to the stars. Now it is he who needs a leg up. How about it Winxy?
And so on to this weekend’s early tips.
The Lighthouse feels better about backing losers when he has got top odds, so here are a few who look overs to me in the early Sportsbet markets.
Race 6 – Phone Me and Approach Discreet both well into double figures – either can win; Race 8 – Malibu Style $27 and Thermal Current $23 can both be in the finish if Eduardo still tuckered out from his Oakleigh Plate run;
Race 8 – I like Fiery Heights but offering $23 on the consistent Hingus Rose should be grounds for certification;
Race 1 – Heka Express ($14) and Gentlemen’s Words ($12) over the odds; Gytrash and Scottish Rogue should win races 2 and 3; Kenyan Wonder at $18 worth one last chance to get her mind on the job in Race 7 at the price; and
Race 2 Krone at 9.50; The Oaks – look for improvement from Clementina ($31) although I’m frightened of Frankely Awesome; Sydney Cup – fave looks unders – Yogi will go for ever ($12); Rondinella ($17) and Glory Days ($18) both nice value; Race 9 – Dixie Blossoms ($11) and Oregon’s Day ($20) will surely be in the finish and old mate Egyptian Symbol ($15) returns in the last – dry track and a freshen up – proven ingredients.
Happy punting and go Winx!