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Celebrating 100 years of the Winx Stakes

August 14, 2023

The Winx Stakes will celebrate its 100th running this year.

Naturally, the race itself hasn’t been known as the Winx Stakes throughout its entirety. This name is the one it has gone by since 2018 with the now Group 1 previously known as the Warwick Stakes. The inaugural running was in 1923 and taken out by Sunburst.

Now worth $750,000 and reclassified to Group One status in 2018 after Winx captured her third consecutive running of the race, it has a rich and steep tradition.

A quick browse through the honour roll sees household names of eras gone such as San Domenico (1950, 51), Bernborough ()1946), Tulloch (1957), Kingston Town (1981, 82, 83), Super Impose (1990, 91), Sunline (1990) and more recently, Winx (2016, 17, 18).

Last year’s edition went to Grand Final specialist Anamoe, winning the race first-up and using it as a springboard to greatness as he went on to win a further three straight Group 1s including the George Main Stakes and Cox Plate.

With the celebration of 100 years of the Winx Stakes, it is only fitting that we revisit one of the great mare’s wins in what was then a Group 2 event.

Royal Randwick, 19 August 2017 and the daughter of Street Cry had won 17 straight leading into the Warwick Stakes. Coming into the race first-up, she hadn’t raced since taking out the Queen Elizabeth Stakes four months earlier.

It wasn’t a great start, in fact, she missed it by four lengths but jockey Hugh Bowman never panicked. The pair were still near last on straightening while stablemate Foxplay, which sat behind the leader, railed through to hit the front not long after straightening.

With six lengths still to make up, the winning streak looked in serious jeopardy at the 300m mark but with her trademark finishing burst, she overhauled Foxplay in the shadows of the post to score a memorable win. Click here to relive the race in its entirety.

Looking back at the early editions of the Winx (nee Warwick) Stakes and there is one notable horse which contested the race twice, however, failed to etch his name on the honour roll – Phar Lap.

‘The Red Terror’ contested the 1929 edition and wound up tenth behind Limerick, which had registered its second successive win in the feature. In 1930, Phar Lap again fell short when second to the same galloper who made it a hat-trick of wins.

The date of that race is important – 30 August 1930 – as he would springboard off that placing to go on and write himself into Australian folklore by capturing the Melbourne Cup just a few months later carrying an unbelievable 63kgs.

Who will add their name to the honour roll this Saturday at Royal Randwick?

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