Anticipation has been building in Australia as wonder horse Winx prepares to take center stage yet again.
The iconic mare will be favorite for Saturday’s Apollo Stakes at Sydney’s Royal Randwick Racecourse, her first appearance since being named the 2018 Longines Horse of the Year alongside Cracksman.
The Chris Waller-trained champion is expected to record her 30th consecutive win – a run that includes a record 22 Group 1 victories.
It’s a journey that’s been thoroughly enjoyed by one of her owners, Debbie Kepitis.
“She’s taken us on a magic carpet ride, that’s really what it’s been like,” Kepitis told CNN Sport at the Longines awards ceremony in London’s Landmark Hotel.
Winx: Highlights from a golden career so far
‘Floating on air’
Winx hasn’t been beaten since April 2015 and has won some of racing’s most prestigious events – recording her fourth consecutive Cox Plate in 2018.
“Initially, it was like riding a wave but on a wave, you eventually crash,” continued Kepitis. “But she’s kept us going. It’s like we are just floating on air.”
Winx’s dominance has made her a national treasure in a country with a long history of horse racing. Huge crowds now descend on racetracks across Australia to catch just a glimpse of the champion and her jockey Hugh Bowman.
Her position in popular culture has resulted in inevitable comparisons with some of the world’s most dominant athletes.
“A lot of people have said she’s like Usain Bolt and a lot of people have said she’s like Cathy Freeman,” admitted Kepitis. “I’m happy to go with either of those.”
‘She knows she’s good’
Very few can compare to Winx – she’s earned more than $16 million in prize money since her debut in 2014.