Winx's ill owner in bid to see her final race appearance

If former Bathurst boy Richard Treweeke had his way, the wonder mare Winx would continue racing.

The part-owner is in a race himself to get better before what has been billed as Winx's final race at Randwick on Saturday.

The champion mare is expected to bow out with her 33rd consecutive win as she seeks to keep her Queen Elizabeth Stakes crown.

All roads lead to Randwick on Saturday, with the Australian Turf Club announcing : "Winx will race to a sold out crowd this Saturday for The Championships Day 2 - Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes Day."

Meantime, the great mare, rated the equal best racehorse in the world, put in a stirring track gallop during the week, but then lashed out with her hind legs in the mounting yard at Rosehill, leaving gasps from onlookers and sending shudders through the racing industry banking on a big finale at Randwick.

Trainer Chris Waller removed her earmuffs at the press call, but a rug tugged at her backside, and she then lashed out, narrowly missing the great trainer, and then putting a hole in a Longines advertising sign on a gate along the fence.

The hole in the sign Winx left after she became agitated at a media call. She has been cleared to race on Saturday.

The hole in the sign Winx left after she became agitated at a media call. She has been cleared to race on Saturday.

Waller told the media: "As you can see, she's a horse, they're unpredictable, but she's very well, very fresh, very bright." As of Thursday afternoon yesterday she was cleared to race after a farrier inspected her.

If anything Winx is predictable, winning every time, as she has done for the last 32 starts. Saturday will be her finale and probably her 33rd win in a row.

But her fond part-owner wishes Winx would keep on kicking on, not at signs, but on the track. She has immense value as a broodmare - in the order of $50m, but Mr Treweeke wishes the great career could keep on rolling.

She's apples: Dunedoo's Hugh Bowman on board the amazing Winx, one of the great combinations of the Australian turf.

She's apples: Dunedoo's Hugh Bowman on board the amazing Winx, one of the great combinations of the Australian turf.

Treweeke, 87, a rouseabout in his younger days, is in a battle against time to get better to watch his great mare strike up 33 wins in succession. He's been in bed in his Sydney home most of this week and suffers from giddy attacks when he gets up.

But Mr Treweeke is hoping his daughter will be able to get him to Randwick for Winx's big farewell.

Mr Treweeke is a fan of The Land and buys it every week. After working on sheep stations, he later left for the city starting a successful career in advertising, but always maintaining his rural contacts, especially in Bathurst, and his interest in horses.

Part owner Richard Treweeke with his wife Dorothy watch Winx win another race. Due to illness he has not seen her race for more than two years but is doing his best to get better to get there to watch her last race on Saturday at Randwick.

Part owner Richard Treweeke with his wife Dorothy watch Winx win another race. Due to illness he has not seen her race for more than two years but is doing his best to get better to get there to watch her last race on Saturday at Randwick.

He hasn't seen Winx race live for some time, but he says he'd like to see her carry on.

"She's broken a track record and a race record in her last three starts so I don't see why she can't, but it's not my call. I think Waller should decide."

Winx is rated one of the modern turf champions and the best horse in the world.

When asked if he was getting ready for the big day Mr Treweeke revealed on the phone: "I'm in bed as a matter of fact. I'm very giddy when I get up. I'm trying hard to get better to get out there to Randwick. It'll be a great race and I'm sure she'll perform incredibly well."

"A lot of people love her and she's got a big following."

Winx's first win in her winning sequence of 32 wins. Sunshine Coast May 16, 2015.

"It's a tough race (the Queen Elizabeth), but I know she'll perform."

It's not known which broodmare stud Winx will go to after she stops racing, with the owners expected to keep some share of the mare. She has been spelled at the boutique Hermitage Thoroughbreds spelling operation at The Oaks, near Oakdale, outside of Sydney for all of her career.

The spelling operation, and farm, owned by Hong Kong interests, is managed by former trainer Oliver Koolman, a good friend of trainer Chris Waller.

Koolman has seen Winx through all her spells in her career, with the massive duty of making sure she is healthy and fit for training before she returns to the track.

Hermitage Thoroughbreds, where Winx spells. Pictured is Karen Koolman, on another Waller star, The Autumn Sun, owned by Hermitage Thoroughbreds. Oliver Koolman is the managing director of the operation.

Hermitage Thoroughbreds, where Winx spells. Pictured is Karen Koolman, on another Waller star, The Autumn Sun, owned by Hermitage Thoroughbreds. Oliver Koolman is the managing director of the operation.

Chris Waller has implicitly trusted his Kiwi mate with the big task of caring for Winx and Koolman said it was a big thing to know "Chris is always on the end of the phone when I need to talk to him."

The key to Winx's spelling, after all the hype and pressure of racing, is finding her own peace and quiet at Hermitage. She has her own paddock, which is a converted lawn, and she enjoys being out in the paddock all day feeding on the paddock clover.

"She'd stay out there all day and night if we let her, even in a storm," says Koolman. "I think it's been very important for her having that isolation."

Koolman was astounded to see the mare lash out near his mate Chris this week. "It's better to be kicked by a slow horse than a fast horse," Koolman joked, fully aware how dangerous a kick from a horse can be.

Koolman reflected on Winx's career, saying one of the great wins was when she bombed the start in the Warwick Stakes, then picked up and won by a smidgin.

"Only great horses can show that determination," he said.

Winners. Winx and Bowman.

Winners. Winx and Bowman.

The path to getting Winx ready for racing has not been all smooth sailing.

"She's gone through many things like other horses, she's had her hiccups as well, such as stone bruises, but things like that she recovers from, it doesn't upset her like it might other horses," Koolman said.

"We've had her here since she was a filly, which I think is important, she always  comes back and settles into the farm routine. I think that's part of the key to her contentment, it's a small place, with a small number of staff, she's left alone and it's just easy to manage. She gets to put her feet up, and she'll spend all day just grazing on the clover out in the paddock.

"We built the paddock for her and it will be named after her. We are a completely isolated farm here so there's no problem with other horses bringing in something that might affect her. She's essentially quarantined."

Winx was in a mood this week.

Winx was in a mood this week.

The biggest job for Koolman is making sure she doesn't put on too much weight - something that worried them just before her last return to racing.

"She's put on weight the whole way through her career, and we've had to manage that. She put on even more this time and we had to tweak her feed." 

Winx is fed a Mitavite product with Mitavite supplements, but her main feed is just hay and pasture.

"We don't use high grain feeds here, we're not into that," Koolman said. 

Koolman said it was great working with Chris Waller, who was a "stockman and a horseman". "I get magnificent confidence from the ownership group and from Chris," he said.

"It's great to see her going out at the top. Let's hope she passes on that class to her progeny.

"She has a unique racing style and she seems to defy a lot of the racing theories. She's a one-off, she's once in a lifetime, once in a century horse, she's all of those things."

And given her lashing out this week, and only used to being in a paddock by herself, how will she go when she starts her broodmare career, where she will have to be a bit more accepting of other horses?

"We're definitely going to have to choose her paddock partner well. Definitely no shoes on."