Royal Ascot: Star horse Winx to stay in Australia

Winx
Winx, ridden by Hugh Bowman, broke a 24-year-old world record when riding to a 17th successive victory last weekend

The star Australian horse Winx will not be lining up in any race at Royal Ascot - nor in the rest of Europe - this summer, says trainer Chris Waller.

It had been hoped that the mare, successful in a record 17 races at Group One level and unbeaten in her last 24, would contest the Queen Anne Stakes at Ascot in June.

Waller says the decision to remain in Australia was made after "lengthy discussions" with the owners and jockey Hugh Bowman and "based on the best interests" of the six-year-old.

"Winx has nothing to prove to anyone, she is, and always will be, regarded as a legend of the turf and it is champions like her that make up the fabric of this great sport," he added.

Ascot's director of racing and communications, Nick Smith, said he wished the Winx team "the very best for the future" following their decision, adding: "It was a privilege for Royal Ascot to have been under such serious consideration for the world's best horse."

Analysis

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

This is a definite disappointment for Royal Ascot and for European racing as a whole.

With her success and this long unbeaten record, Winx has stirred interest around the rest of the world as well as at home in Australia, bringing star quality by the bucket-load where she goes.

Much as the Winx team would have fancied a trip to Ascot, I'm sure, their number one priority is a record fourth win in the hugely prestigious Cox Plate in Melbourne in October, and they wouldn't want to do anything - travel her anywhere - that could put being spot on for that at any risk.

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