After it all, Hugh Bowman just wanted to steal one more kiss from his other lady.
He leant down and … thwack! Winx threw her head back and collected Bowman, his bottom lip immediately split and bloodied. He stood in front of the television cameras straight after with a tissue to stem the claret, tens of thousands stood behind him with a tissue to wipe away tears.
"When she threw her head back I'd like to think she was saying, 'go back to your wife'," joked Bowman's wife Christine.
If ever there was a sign it's time, maybe this was it.
Winx won her final race at Randwick on Saturday, the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the final day of The Championships. It was effortless, as usual.
But it's time. Bowman's bottom lip proved it.
After four years of flawless invincibility across 33 straight wins, 25 group 1s, four Cox Plates and more than $26 million in prizemoney, Australia's greatest racehorse had her day called for her in front of a modern day record crowd of 43,833.
Horse racing is fickle and fluctuating, anything that can go wrong usually does go wrong at some stage. The greatest testament to Winx is that nothing ever really did go wrong since the latter days of her three-year-old season.
There was never an off day, never a significant injury, never a time where she just didn't want to win. Most of it can't be taught. Other parts of it need to be expertly managed.
And with almost every decision he's had to make at every important juncture, trainer Chris Waller got another one right.
Winx uncharacteristically lashed out at a fence during her standard Thursday morning media call before her farewell race, agitated when Waller removed her noise-smothering ear muffs and she heard the clicks of the waiting cameras.
Waller was a short half-head from copping a mighty kick, the mare an even finer margin away from doing serious damage to her hind legs.
Resenting an innocent Bowman smooch suggests she might have just had enough.
Waller watched the race on television in a tiny room buried in the bowels of the throbbing Randwick grandstand, as he always does. Others peered through the fence at Alison Road near the 2000-metre start as the country's biggest bookmaker Tabcorp reported a record $4 million was splurged on Winx, which started at $1.06, to win through their fixed odds arm.
Waller walked out after Winx beat Japanese challenger Kluger by a length-and-a-half and just smiled, Winx's win chalking up his 100th group 1 of his training career to join Tommy Smith, Bart Cummings, Gai Waterhosue and Lee Freedman as the only conditioners to achieve the feat in Australia.
"No words describe it," Waller muttered as he emerged from his little viewing hole. "I just did the best I could. You dont set yourself up for these big wins. You just do your job."
Added Winx's part-owner Peter Tighe: "I don't think I know anyone in the world more deserving of getting a 100th group 1 winner with the best horse that has ever gone around in the world.
"We're not sad, it's no good being sad. The tears are all tears of joy. We're fortunate to be the ones that are up the front of the boat and there's a Read More – Source