Hugh Bowman rides Winx to a dominant victory in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 22 last year.
Hugh Bowman rides Winx to a dominant victory in the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 22 last year. JULIAN SMITH

Waller moots international campaign for Winx

TRAINER Chris Waller has conceded Winx may need to race overseas to earn the world's best racehorse accolade, but the good news for Australian race fans is Winx is not going anywhere this year.

Winx is likely to have eight race starts during 2017, with the $4 million Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) during The Championships at Royal Randwick in April and the $3 million Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in October as her main aims, before Waller thinks about an international campaign for his great mare.

"The world deserves to see Winx at her best,'' Waller said.

"But the Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes and then a third Cox Plate are our goals for this year.

"If she wins that third Cox Plate then I don't think there's any more to achieve at home and I'm sure the owners would agree to a world experience.''

Waller revealed his plans at the Longines World's Best Racehorse Awards in London on Tuesday night after Winx came a close third to American champions Arrogate and California Chrome.

Winx's rating of 132 equalled that achieved by the great Black Caviar when she was a co-winner of the World's Best Racehorse Award in 2013.

Black Caviar had won the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot a few months earlier. But Winx's rating wasn't enough to beat Arrogate (134) and California Chrome (133) for the 2016 title.

Winx was acclaimed at the best mare in world racing and also the highest-rated galloper on turf.

Arrogate won the title after 20 handicappers from 17 countries analysed all the Group 1 races around the world last year before arriving at Arrogate's peak figure following his narrow defeat of California Chrome in an epic US Breeders' Cup Classic. This also provided the Breeders' Cup Classic with the title of the World's Best Race for 2016, with Winx's eight-length Cox Plate romp coming equal second.

Winx's win in the George Ryder Stakes at Rosehill last autumn secured that race a ranking of seventh in the world last year.

Arrogate's American trainer Bob Baffert was in London to accept the World's Best Racehorse Award for the second successive year after winning the coveted title with American Pharoah.

"I never thought I'd have another American Pharoah,'' Baffert said.

"Arrogate came to the party a bit late but bloomed at the right time and to be able to beat California Chrome was a great effort.

"It was so quiet after American Pharoah retired, so to be lucky enough to come back here and have another best horse in the world, that means a lot.''

Baffert left London to oversee the final stages of Arrogate's preparation before a rematch with California Chrome in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park, Florida, this weekend.

But the American training legend had some complimentary things to say about the mighty Winx after watching some of her wins replayed at the London awards ceremony.

"Winx - what a great horse she is,'' Baffert said.

"I didn't know much about her before today, but she is something else.''

Turnbull Stakes winner Hartnell, runner-up to Winx in the Cox Plate, earned a 124 rating, which put him on equal eighth in the world.

The 122 rating of the Team Hawkes' runner Chautauqua was enough to earn him the world's best sprinter ranking, while Flying Artie (120) was rated the best three-year-old sprinter.



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