Former Bathurst apprentice Hugh Bowman has reigned supreme, guiding Winx to a world record 23rd Group 1 win and 31st victory in succession at Randwick on Saturday.
But it was easy for Winx, with Happy Clapper having a realistic attempt to unseat the champion mare.
And for a moment the Chipping Norton Stakes it looked as if the audacious coup might come off as Happy Clapper dashed clear, but by the 100-metre mark Winx had reeled him in and gone past him.
“It played into her strength with a strong gallop, but gee Happy Clapper is a good horse,” Winx’s co-owner Peter Tighe said. “She is just better and we are very lucky to have her.”
Happy Clapper’s trainer Pat Webster and jockey Blake Shinn came with a plan at Wyong 48 hours before the race to make Winx chase, and chase hard. It was executed to perfection.
Shinn slipped away on Happy Clapper down the High Street side of the course coming to the turn and topped the famous rise with a couple of lengths to spare on the only chaser, Winx.
The crowd of 14,831 roared as Winx ($1.08) flattened out for the chase and went past Happy Clapper ($9.50) to win by one and three-quarter lengths, with Unforgotten ($31) three and three quarter lengths further back in third.
Bowman said he was never worried by the threat of Happy Clapper.
“She’s just an amazing athlete, there are really no more words to describe her,” he said.
“When you watch the replay, at the 700 metres you would have thought well she’s out of business, and another jockey riding her may have thought that, but I knew when I balanced up, there was no way that Happy Clapper could sustain that speed."
“I knew that when she balanced up she’d have the energy required to reel him in."
Winx will have a three-week break into the George Ryder Stakes on Golden Slipper day before her farewell in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick on April 13.