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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 20 November 2018

Godolphin's Benbatl comes home second to record-breaking 'superstar' Winx in Cox Plate

Saeed bin Suroor reserves special praise for Australia's record-breaking mare after her latest victory in Melbourne

Hugh Bowman riding Winx, left, wins the Cox Plate ahead of Benbatl ridden by Oisin Murphy, right. Getty Images
Hugh Bowman riding Winx, left, wins the Cox Plate ahead of Benbatl ridden by Oisin Murphy, right. Getty Images

Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor lauded Winx as a "superstar" after the wonder mare beat Benbatl to win a record fourth Cox Plate and 29th race in a row on Saturday.

Winx, the world's top-rated horse, hasn't lost for three years and is now the first to claim Australia's most prestigious weight-for-age race four times, which is run over 2040m and named after William Cox, who founded the Melbourne Racing Club

With long-time jockey Hugh Bowman in the saddle, Winx forged clear on the final bend at the notoriously tight Moonee Valley Racecourse to hold off a brave fight from Godolphin's Benbatl, ridden by Oisin Murphy.

"My horse got beaten by a special filly," Benbatl's trainer Bin Suroor said. "[Winx] is a superstar and something special. But my horse - the ground wasn't really great for him but he ran well."

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Benbatl will now return to Dubai, and Bin Suroor said he will talk with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, about the horse's future plans.

"He is in good shape now and we will take him back to Dubai and we will race him there," Bin Suroor said. "We will talk to Sheikh Mohammed and he will make the decision for the future."

For Winx, the mighty mare continues to smash records at every race, having surpassed the previous Australian win record by legendary sprinter Black Caviar in August when she made it 26 in a row at a race named in her honour. The darling of the Australian turf has since won another three.

"I can't believe it," Bowman said after riding Winx to victory in the Cox Plate. "The electricity that came through my body when I turned into the home straight.

"Everyone watching gets so much joy and pleasure out of this wonderful horse," he added.

"The fact that she's been able to do it so many times consecutively just speaks volumes for the management of her."

Now seven, Winx's future beyond the current Australian spring season has not been formalised.

Asked ahead of the race if it would be the last time the champion would be seen in Melbourne, trainer Chris Waller would not be drawn.

"I won't say yes or no because I don't think it's fair really on the horse or the discussions we've had with the owners," he told reporters.