To most Australians Winx does not stand out from the crowd or look like a sure winner but looks can be deceiving. She’s now billed as the world’s greatest horse. And we’ve asked some industry experts why this champion is so good.
The champion Aussie mare raced into history this weekend at Randwick with her 26th straight victory, surpassing the mark set by the legendary Black Caviar. But Winx is not like Black Caviar.
Black Caviar would blitz her rivals with one of the longest strides every measured on a racehorse – a whooping 8.42 metres. When the average racehorse takes a stride they cover approx 6.1m meaning every stride gave 2.32 metres of extra ground to Black Caviar.
Winx has a stride length of 6.53 metres. This makes her above average… but well short of Black Caviar.
Phar Lap had a huge heart that enabled him to push further and faster than his rivals. But Winx is not like Phar Lap.
So what else could make Winx so special?
Scientifically speaking, Winx has a trick like no other racehorse we’ve seen – she strides with greater frequency than other horses.
Physicist Dr Graeme Putt has even put a time on it. Winx puts in 2.7 strides per second compared to an average 2.3 for other horses.
But it doesn’t stop there. Winx can also change this frequency up at what seems to be the drop of a hat. Winx generates speed to accelerate when she ups her frequency.
So while other horses are increasing their stride length at full gallop to get faster Winx just takes more strides and beats them convincingly.
But as with all champions it’s not just science. Chris Waller is well known for his human sportsperson comparison.
“Winx is like a Usain Bolt type of human, but she is running in a Mo Farah middle distance race.”
And Hugh Bowman openly admits that even when he feels she is at her top, she spies the winning post and finds something deep to win, something he didn’t think was possible.
Her mental state is what he believes can make the difference on race day.
But when the physiology and mental toughness is put aside one thing the champion Winx does better than any other is bring people together.
At Randwick this weekend there were children, grandparents and everyone in between out to see a once in a lifetime elite athlete trying to do the unthinkable – win another race.
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