Winx fame hits new heights after poll recognition
Sydney super mare Winx has been voted the world's most popular racehorse in a global online poll.
Winx has been awarded the prestigious Secretariat Vox Populi Award for 2018 which recognises the racehorse "whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the general public and gained recognition for thoroughbred racing."
Winx was the top choice among international fans representing a record 60 countries.
The other nominations were unbeaten US triple crown winner Justify, European super mare Enable, America's champion older horse Accelerate and three-year-old filly Monomoy Girl.
The mighty mare's owners Peter Tighe, Debbie Kepitis and Richard Treweeke, trainer Chris Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman will be invited to famous US racetrack Santa Anita to be presented with the custom-made Secretariat Vox Populi trophy at an awards ceremony on January 12.
"I thought it would be won by the (US) Triple Crown winner Justify given it was a people's choice award,'' Tighe said.
"But this is a great honour and testament to Winx's deeds on the racetrack. She certainly couldn't do any more than she has done and anyone who questions her now is a very hard marker.
"This award is good for racing and recognition for our little 'girl' in Australia.''
Kepitis said the Secretariat Vox Populi Award is a tremendous honour for Winx and Australian racing.
"For Winx to be voted most popular racehorse is unbelievable, exciting and thrilling,'' Kepitis said.
"We thought it was fantastic just to be nominated alongside great horses like Enable, Justify and Accelerate.
"What a forward-thinking woman Penny Chenery was to introduce an award like this that gives race fans the chance to have their say.''
The late Mrs Chenery, who was the brainchild of the most popular racehorse award, was the owner of the legendary Secretariat, regarded as one of the world's all-time great champions and winner of the 1973 US triple crown comprising the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
Secretariat won the final leg of the triple crown, the Belmont Stakes, by a world record 31 lengths.
"Racing certainly offered many historical and heartwarming stories in 2018," said Mrs Chenery's daughter, Kate Chenery Tweedy.
"And once again, the 'Voice of the People' spoke very clearly. The fact that both the American public and voters abroad were not limited by international borders is a wonderful testament to the growth of the award and the winner's global appeal.
"Winx represents everything Mom envisioned when she created this award and reaffirms her notion that a beloved horse will captivate fans and draw interest to the sport no matter where they race."
Winx has gained worldwide recognition from horse racing enthusiasts with her 29 consecutive wins during an unbeaten period stretching nearly four years. During this sequence, she has won a world record 21 Group 1 races.
The mighty mare won all seven races this year including an unprecedented fourth consecutive Cox Plate.
Winx is the first Australian-trained horse to win the Secretariat Vox Populi award and becomes only the second mare to be afforded the honour. US champion mare Zenyatta, who is by Winx's sire Street Cry, was the inaugural 2010 winner.
Winx now joins a honour roll of award winners that also includes Ben's Cat (2017), California Chrome (2016 and 2014), American Pharoah (2015), Mucho Macho Man (2013), Paynter (2012) and Rapid Redux (2011).