Infotainment Factory: What happened after Winx saluted

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Sunday, 14 April 2019

What happened after Winx saluted


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I’ve been fortunate to experience numerous Olympics, World Cups, Grand Slams, Grand Finals and a Super Bowl.

But for sheer electric tension, nothing beats watching the 500kg of lightning known as Winx as she tore up the Randwick straight for the last time.

I stood in the winner’s enclosure next to Winx’s farrier, Jason Brettle, who was standing next to Chris Waller’s sister Megan.

Megan Waller and Jason Brettle in tears after Winx's victory.

Chris stood alone, as he does.

42,000 fans stood shoulder-to-shoulder. Time? It stood still.

When Winx had won again, Brettle - a man as tough as the metal he shapes for a living - melted: “ I’m sorry. It’s so hard when you’ve spent so much time with her. I’m sorry she’s going, but I’m glad it’s over and she’s safe. Y’know what I mean?”

Well, yes, as much as any outsider can know what it’s been like for Waller’s team to carry Winx’s legend.

Before the race, the Theatre of the Horse parade ring was jammed as never before.

Watching with arms folded was Guy Mulcaster. He’s the man who chose Winx as a yearling, and is always looking ahead for the next champion, but this day his gaze was fixed on “the mare.”

A little boy dressed in Winx’s colours, complete with goggles and whip, rode his dad like Hugh Bowman.

Jockey Hugh Bowman is congratulated for his ride.Guy Mulcaster looks on pensively.

The real Hugh Bowman shared hugs and handshakes with connections. Not given to public sentimentality, Bowman later told media he was glad Winx head butted his lip, because the scar will always prove this dream was real.

He told his wife Christine, he might need stitches. “Oh, get over yourself,” she said in the Irish accent that lets her say anything and get away with it.

Winx was sashed out on the Randwick turf. Then she was led away for the last time. My last impression of her was much like the first.

Powerful, but plain. Businesslike. What makes her so different? Whatever it is, it can’t be seen with human eyes.

Cameron Williams gets a close-up look at Winx.

Later, when those closest to Winx’s journey met for dinner in a room at the back of Randwick, the party was still going outside.

Chris Waller climbed the stairs with the weariness of a field surgeon. The adrenaline of getting Winx through her last campaign was dry. His coat was caked with the make-up of well-wishers.

“She was good, wasn’t she?”, he smiled.

Mate, she was glorious. It’ll take about a decade to truly appreciate it.

I’ve been fortunate to experience numerous Olympics, World Cups, Grand Slams, Grand Finals and a Super Bowl.

But for sheer electric tension, nothing beats watching the 500kg of lightning known as Winx as she tore up the Randwick straight for the last time.

I stood in the winner’s enclosure next to Winx’s farrier, Jason Brettle, who was standing next to Chris Waller’s sister Megan.

Megan Waller and Jason Brettle in tears after Winx's victory.

Chris stood alone, as he does.

42,000 fans stood shoulder-to-shoulder. Time? It stood still.

When Winx had won again, Brettle - a man as tough as the metal he shapes for a living - melted: “ I’m sorry. It’s so hard when you’ve spent so much time with her. I’m sorry she’s going, but I’m glad it’s over and she’s safe. Y’know what I mean?”

Well, yes, as much as any outsider can know what it’s been like for Waller’s team to carry Winx’s legend.

Before the race, the Theatre of the Horse parade ring was jammed as never before.

Watching with arms folded was Guy Mulcaster. He’s the man who chose Winx as a yearling, and is always looking ahead for the next champion, but this day his gaze was fixed on “the mare.”

A little boy dressed in Winx’s colours, complete with goggles and whip, rode his dad like Hugh Bowman.

Jockey Hugh Bowman is congratulated for his ride.Guy Mulcaster looks on pensively.

The real Hugh Bowman shared hugs and handshakes with connections. Not given to public sentimentality, Bowman later told media he was glad Winx head butted his lip, because the scar will always prove this dream was real.

He told his wife Christine, he might need stitches. “Oh, get over yourself,” she said in the Irish accent that lets her say anything and get away with it.

Winx was sashed out on the Randwick turf. Then she was led away for the last time. My last impression of her was much like the first.

Powerful, but plain. Businesslike. What makes her so different? Whatever it is, it can’t be seen with human eyes.

Cameron Williams gets a close-up look at Winx.

Later, when those closest to Winx’s journey met for dinner in a room at the back of Randwick, the party was still going outside.

Chris Waller climbed the stairs with the weariness of a field surgeon. The adrenaline of getting Winx through her last campaign was dry. His coat was caked with the make-up of well-wishers.

“She was good, wasn’t she?”, he smiled.

Mate, she was glorious. It’ll take about a decade to truly appreciate it.

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