The Wonderful World of Winx
Make no mistake, betting is a mug’s game, but goddammit I love horse racing. It is sports theatre at its finest, with high drama, crooks, champions, disappointments, great underdog victories, crooks (they always come back after the suspension), good looking people getting drunk and did I mention crooks?
Then there is Winx. A champion all unto herself.
Don’t even talk to me about Black Caviar. She was a flat track bully, beating up on lesser opposition. The Matt Hayden of horse racing, if you will. And Phar Lap was pumped full of speed. We all know it. Why do we keep denying it? It’s another uncomfortable truth about an Australian icon that we can’t admit to ourselves; like the fact Ned Kelly was a cop-killer, Don Bradman was a bit of a prick and Crowded House were actually from New Zealand.
Winx is untouchable, though. An unassuming champion owned by (relatively) normal people and trained by a bloke who might actually be honest and clearly loves his horses.
When she runs her expected final lap of Randwick, in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes this April, the only better show in town will be Bruce McAvaney’s commentary while watching her. Someone needs to look into that bloke’s interest in horses, by the way. It’s all a little uncomfortably sexual for my liking.
The crowd will no doubt be there in their droves and in all likelihood Happy Clapper will, like every gentleman should, come second. Spare a thought for the poor old Clapper. If Winx is to be beat, no one could begrudge him of that. I kind of hope he does win. Winx is etched in folklore as it is and it’s not as if she has a perfect record to maintain, given she had a few losses early on. A Happy Clapper win would make me a very happy chappy indeed (and the bookmakers too, I imagine). Don’t call me a Grinch for saying it. You’re the Grinch, if anything!
Regardless of what happens, the world of sport will be lesser for Winx heading out to pasture. Heck, the world itself will be. It will be one less distraction from the rodeo clowns running the show. I might even have to engage for a while (don’t worry, I won’t).
The cynic (read: Beast editor Dan Hutton) will tell you there is another Winx, pre-loaded around the corner, to keep us dumb, fat, happy and punting. And there is, a gelding by the name of Avilius, but it will take time for that love affair to bloom. I’m not sure the country is ready for it.
Avilius deserves better than being a rebound lover, so I’d prefer we took our time, kept in touch for a while and let it develop naturally. Maybe have a drink in September? I don’t know, we’ll see what happens. We might hang out with some other horses, like The Autumn Sun and Kementari, for a while. Get drunk. Get silly.
But we’ll always have that little spark in our hearts for Winx.