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Who will replace Winx at the top of horse racing?



For the past two years, the biggest question in horse racing has been who is going to come in second. The sheer domination of Winx is something that has never been seen in horse racing before – neither in Australia nor the wider world. Now that Winx has headed off into a well-earned retirement, there is a void to be filled at the top of the horse racing tree. It seems unlikely that any one horse will dominate in quite the same way, but here are some that are showing they have the potential to beat anyone on their day.


Santa Ana Lane


Winning seven Group One races is an impressive achievement under any circumstances. Doing so in the Age of Winx is doubly impressive, and Santa Ana Lane can rightfully claim to be the next best horse over the past couple of years. Of course, we can’t help but wonder what might have been if it wasn’t for Winx, but that is a little like asking how many titles Nadal might have by now if Federer had not been around. Santa Ana Lane has just turned seven, but as a gelding, he is far from past it. It could be that the twilight years of his career will prove to be the most productive.


Vow and Declare


Trained by Danny O’Brien, this four year old has consistently been there or thereabouts in all the high profile races this season. But the exciting part is that he just seems to get better and better. Jockey Craig Williams was particularly impressed by his performance in the Caulfield Cup as the Spring Racing Carnival officially got underway last week. He finished just a length behind winner Mer De Glace on a track that was not expected to play to his strengths. Williams commented that he didn’t even blow after the race and feels the best is yet to come when the action moves to Melbourne in November.


Arcadia Queen


She might not have been hitting the headlines in the big races just yet, but this filly has time on her side. When she won the Kingston Town Classic at the end of last year, the comparisons with Winx were indisputable as she left the competition helplessly in her wake. A similar performance at Rosehill last month proved it was no fluke. The question is whether new trainer Chris Waller can bring out all that potential at the very highest level.


Mystic Journey


Horse racing journalist Ben Dorries has described this fireball as the best thing to come out of Tasmania since Ricky Ponting. She could well prove to be just as much of a legend in her sport, too. Mystic Journey burst onto the scene with wins in the Australian Guineas and the All Star Mile. From there, she just kept winning, and is still seen as the horse to beat in the Cox Plate. This is despite a couple of losses in recent months that have brought an end to her seven-race winning streak. Still, that could just make her all the more hungry to return to winning ways.