Winx wearing the Longines World’s Best Racehorse 2018 blanket. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Winx wearing the Longines World’s Best Racehorse 2018 blanket. Picture: Jonathan Ng

UK expert miffed by Winx’s top rating

WINX's standing as the equal best horse in the world has again been scoffed at by a parochial British racing expert.

The four-time Cox Plate winning mare on Thursday was named as co-winner of the Longine's World's Best Racehorse title in London alongside English galloper Cracksman.

Owner Peter Tighe said it was an honour to share top spot with Cracksman.

"We're ecstatic to win this award and can I also congratulate the Cracksman team,'' Tighe said. "We love our horse as much as I'm sure you love yours.''

But British racing expert Sam Walker, who writes for the Racing Post, has questioned the decision, saying Australian racing was overrated.

Walker claimed the UK was clearly the world leader in racing and yet the rankings committee had a love affair with Australia and Winx was the beneficiary.

Winx became the second Australian-trained racehorse to win the award following Black Caviar being named a joint winner in 2013. A panel of international judges rated Winx and Cracksman at a peak of 130 during their 2018 race campaigns.

But Walker said the Racing Post's system rated Cracksman at 131 compared to Winx's 125.

"That doesn't diminish Winx's career or her performances from previous years. It's not politics, just facts, based on thousands of lines of form and analysis," he said.

Winx left European raider Benbatl in her wake on the way to a record fourth Cox Plate. Picture: Getty Images
Winx left European raider Benbatl in her wake on the way to a record fourth Cox Plate. Picture: Getty Images

Walker said Britain won 37 Group 1 races overseas in 2018 which was 21 more than Ireland who came in second with 16. He pointed out that Australian horses, "the darlings of the rankings committee", had one winner.

He also pointed out that 18 British runners ran in Australia and they won four group 1 races and were placed six times.

Walker questioned why Australia had four of the world's top 10-rated races and said it was "unbelievable" that 31 Australian races were ranked in the top 100 compared to Britain's 19.

"If it was an emotional decision you could argue that Winx deserved the world title but to do that you would have to ratchet up a number of races to unrealistically high levels which would in turn cause Australian races to feature heavily in the list of top-10 and top-100 races. Hang on a minute ..." Walker wrote.

 

Cracksman, left, shared the World’s Best Racehorse award with Winx. Picture: Getty Images
Cracksman, left, shared the World’s Best Racehorse award with Winx. Picture: Getty Images
 

The criticism will not dampen trainer Chris Waller's praise for his wonder mare.

"She's a once-in-a-lifetime horse and I've got a great team behind me that are in awe of her every day,'' Waller said at the London awards night. "For whatever reason she keeps running consistently well year in, year out at this very high level.

"We might be down in the other part of the word but we certainly have full respect of all the horses up here and to be recognised on this huge stage is really special.''

Tighe said Winx is on schedule to resume racing in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes at Royal Randwick on February 16.

News Corp Australia


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