Winx immortalised alongside Aussie greats
SHE sits comfortably in the pantheon of Australia's greatest sporting icons and yet she has four legs.
She is being compared to Sir Donald Bradman, Rod Laver, Cathy Freeman and Ian Thorpe, and yet she carries a mane and tail.
A once-in-a-lifetime racehorse, Winx has no rival in the popularity stakes and can draw a crowd like a rock star.
Winx-mania is set to sweep Royal Randwick on Saturday when the mighty mare starts her final race campaign in the Group 2 $250,000 Apollo Stakes (1400m).
The Chris Waller-trained Winx, jointly awarded the world's best racehorse title last year, is aiming for an incredible 30th consecutive win.
"It is amazing to be a part of a sporting icon's career,'' trainer Chris Waller said. "The same as a coach of a Cathy Freeman, or Ian Thorpe, Don Bradman's captain.
"Can Winx be called an icon? I guess the public will decide that but that's (what) she is in our eyes.
"How proud we are, I can't start to tell you in words how we feel each time she runs.''
Winx is likely to have only four more starts totalling about six minutes of competition before she is retired.
The Australian Turf Club has tapped into "Winx-mania" with an advertising campaign featuring Winx alongside some of the nation's most iconic sporting heroes and imploring punters to come to Royal Randwick on Saturday and "witness sporting immortality".
Jamie Barkley, the club's chief executive said each of Winx's starts during her farewell campaign will be heavily promoted and celebrated.
"Winx is something very special and our generation is fortunate enough to be able to see her race,'' Barkley said.
"A lot of people in Australia can associate with our great sporting champions and Winx is in that category now.
"She is such a great racehorse she transcends the sport and is something very special in the wider entertainment market. We want to urge people to come out and see this once-in-a-lifetime horse.''
Barkley said Winx's wins in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, George Ryder Stakes and George Main Stakes last year has contributed to "making Sydney racing the best in the world.''
"Sydney has three of the top 10 (rated) races in the world last year and no other racetrack can come close to that,'' he added.
In the countdown to Winx's Apollo Stakes return, Waller admits the pressure is building to ensure the mighty mare's famous winning streak continues on Saturday.
"When you wake up in the morning the first thing I think about is Winx and my family,'' Waller said.
"She has gone from being a sporting name to a household name the last year or so.
"I guess we will breathe a sigh of relief to some degree when she does retire given the pressure.''