The truly frightening thing is Winx seems to be getting better.
The Australian super-horse produced one of the most powerful displays of her career to register her 23rd win in a row – and 16th Group 1 – in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.
After an extended lay-off due to the suspension of jockey Hugh Bowman, Winx made her rivals look second-rate as she cruised to a seven-length win.
“Did that look as it felt?” Bowman asked part-owner Peter Tighe after the victory.
Tighe could only smile in response
Winx now looks unbeatable.
“You don’t have to say too much when she comes out and does that,” Tighe said. “There were doubters at the mile first-up but I don’t there will be anymore.
“She is just a horse of generation, a horse of lifestyle. She does it so easy – she looks like she could go around again.”
Winx was in a world of her own from the top of the straight.
The champion mare sat back in the field as usual until Bowman took her three-wide at the 600m, then four-wide. In the space of 200m, she made up half a dozen lengths.
“I enjoyed it today,” Bowman said. “She was pretty relaxed going to the gates. She pulled a bit going around and some of her better performances have come when she does that.
“I felt that acceleration at track-work but have nothing to measure it on. It was like I was in the centre of the track all by myself, just me and her.”
“She has been filling me with confidence all preparation. What she loves is that cut in the ground. She goes on the hard track but that sort of ground she really likes and that when you see her at her best.”
The win saw the six-year-old sire of Street Cry continue to set more records:
-16th career Group 1 win equals the world record set by American champion John Henry back in 1984.
-23rd win in succession, just two behind Black Caviar’s Australian record for most consecutive wins.
-First mare to win three Chipping Norton Stakes in succession.
-Prize money to an all-time record $12.4m.
For Glyn Schofield on Prized Icon, who was left in Winx’s wake in second, it was a familiar feeling – like when he was on Hay List against Black Caviar.
“I had that feeling a couple of times before on genuine Group 1 horses like him (Prized Icon),” Schofield said. “One was Hay List, the other was on Le Romain when she just went past me and disappeared like today.
“You can’t do much about it against champions.”
The scary thing is trainer Chris Waller said there was improvement in Winx.
“We have a few lengths up our sleeve. It’s 1500m in three weeks’ time [in the George Ryder Stakes] and who knows what happens after that,” Waller said.
“We don’t need to see her getting any better, we just need to see she is back. And she showed that. We are taking it one race at time, we don’t need to worry about where we are going because the right races will come around. I can’t explain it. Today’s field wasn’t the best field but they should take her to the 200.
“She was just unbelievable. Her attitude is fantastic. She is better now than when she was a four-year-old. Not much has changed in the last 12 months.
“She knows it’s her job, she enjoys her job, she enjoys going home and being another horse.”
The FBMA International Show Jumping Cup 2018 brought another victory for UAE in the first half of day three.
Abdulrahman Ahmed Ameen on Corando 11 won the CSIY-A second category with a time of 73.96 seconds for round one and 36.72 seconds for round two.
This year has been particularly successful for Emirati equestrian talent and a total of 58 UAE nationals have taken part in the international competition. A total of 147 riders and 180 horses gathered at the impressive Al Forsan complex in Abu Dhabi.
The first category of the final day was won by Tina Lund from Denmark – her third win at the cup. She won on Celvita Z with times of 66.55 seconds and 32.64s.
Second place was awarded to Georgia Tame from Great Britain riding Z Seven Caretina. Third place went to Frederic David from France who rode Levita VD Bisschop.
For the second category, won by Ameen, second place was awarded to Saad Al Ajami from Saudi Arabia on HHS Dublin.
The third category was won by Mailka Cora Faber from the Al Hamra Equestrian Centre riding Cirrus in a winning time of 46.82 seconds.
Second place was awarded to Holly Ann Coward from the Al Ruwayyah Stable on Connor McCloud. Third place went to Shaikha Fuad Al Midfa from Sharjah Women’s Sports Club, riding Escudeur.
The cup, with total prize money of Dh650,500, is integral to the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy’s ongoing strategy of raising awareness about the range of sporting events Emiratis and UAE residents can participate in, particularly women.
In addition, the academy works hard to encourage participation of the younger generation in organised sporting activities.
HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairwoman of Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy, President of the Abu Dhabi and the Al Ain ladies clubs, said the competition could not have achieved such success if not for the utmost support of Her Highness Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, President of the General Women’s Union, Chief Executive Officer of the Family Development Foundation and President of the Higher Council for Motherhood and Childhood – Mother of the Nation.
She said: “The FBMA International Show Jumping Cup 2018 has witnessed an increase in participation, in addition to a spectacular performance by Emirati riders, which is a culmination of our longstanding efforts to foster Abu Dhabi’s position as an international destination for major sports events, as well as encourage women to flourish in sports and achieve their potential.”
Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza congratulated all riders who participated in this year’s edition of the cup, saying: “The event has surpassed all expectations in its fifth year, and we truly admire the continuous efforts and persistence of all participating riders from the UAE; they contribute to promoting Abu Dhabi as a leading sports capital across the world.”
“The academy would like to thank all of the riders, from the UAE and around the world, who gave their all in the competitions this year.
“We are also grateful to the sponsors who have helped make the fifth edition of this special event a great success. All of us here at FBMA are already looking forward to next year’s Cup and enabling our community to engage with another top class sporting event.”
The second day of the fifth edition of FBMA International Show Jumping Cup 2018 started with a win in the first category for UAE competitor Hamad Ali Al Kirbi.
He rode Grande Cherie PJ to victory, while there was also a win for Abdulrahman Ahmed Ameen in the second category who rode Carolien D.
The first of two CSIY categories saw a total of 47 riders compete. This year has seen the highest number of international participants from 25 countries compete. A total of 147 riders and 180 horses have gathered at the impressive Al Forsan complex in Abu Dhabi.
From the first category Al Kirbi’s winning times were 34.60 for round one and 23.00 for round two and from the second category, Ameen’s times were 37.02 for round one and 22.16 for round two.
Second place in the first category went to Farhang Sadeghi from Iran on Manon Lescaut with a time of 33.73 for round one and 23.10 for round two.
Third place was awarded to Joao Maria Marquilhas from Portugal riding Franciscus Sylt E with a time of 36.42 for round one and 23.31 for round two.
In the second category, second place went to Imad Gharib from Syria riding Quattro 3 with winning times of 35.77 for round one and 22.88 for round two. Third place went to the UAE’s Humaid Abdulla Al Mheiri on Caravelli with times of 39.90 for round one and 25.53 for round two.
The third category-CSICh-A- for children aged 15 and under was won by Omar Ayman from Palestine, riding Stella 514, with winning times of 65.99 for round one and 38.59 for round two.
Second place went to Eisa Omran Al Owais from the UAE with Avelon and winning times of 64.10 for round one and 38.69 for round two. Third place went to Emirati rider Saif Awaida Mohammed Al Kirbi riding Al Mazyouna with winning times of 66.89 for round one and 29.60 for round two.
The tournament is held annually under the patronage of HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak, Mother of the Nation, Chairwoman of the UAE General Women’s Union, Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF) and President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood.
The Cup displays world-class, home-grown Emirati equestrian talent, a sport which is deep-rooted in the nation’s culture. A total of 58 of the UAE’s most talented show-jumpers will participate in the three day event.
Alongside the competition, the Equestrian Village is home to the family-centred activity zone which is free for guests. It includes games and competitions for children as well pony riding, competitive, fun races, face painting and horse-shoe throwing.
In addition, over the weekend, attendees can enjoy fabulous music and delicious food from some of the best food trucks in the capital.
The Cup is organised by FBMA with platinum sponsors, the Abu Dhabi Sports Council (ADSC), Abu Dhabi Media (ADM), and Longines.
Gold sponsors are Al-Shira’aa Stables, Al Forsan, Telecom partner Etisalat, Strategic partners UAE Equestrian and Racing Federation (UAEERF) and Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) and supporting partners Healthpoint and Etihad Airways.
“Etisalat’s participation in this prestigious sports event falls within our ongoing strategy to support community initiatives, especially the ones targeted at Emirati women. We are committed to providing Emirati women with support on all levels related to health and wellbeing,” said HE Sultan Al Dhaheri, acting general manager of Etisalat Abu Dhabi.