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The buyer, the vendor & the sales company

5 min read
She was over budget at the time, but digging deeper has proved to be one of the greatest spends of all time. We chat to the buyer, the vendor and the sales company on their recollections of superstar Winx.

The Buyer: budget blowout

In 2013, New Zealand bloodstock agent Guy Mulcaster had a commission to purchase a Street Cry (IRE) filly at the Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale. When the bidding hit his ceiling of $200,000, Guy Mulcaster was given the green light to press on and got his target for $230,000.

History now tells us that Mulcaster identified and purchased the champion mare Winx out of Coolmore Stud’s draft on behalf of owners Debbie Kepitis, Richard Treweeke and Peter and Patty Tighe’s Magic Bloodstock.

On Saturday, the world’s highest-rated horse, who is within touching distance of $20 million in earnings, will return to her promised land at Moonee Valley to bid for a fourth consecutive G1 Cox Plate title.

“We saw her originally at the stud (Coolmore) during our pre-sale inspections and then again when she arrived at the sales,” Mulcaster said.

“We had her on our list to see again as the pedigree was of interest.” – Guy Mulcaster.

“We had her on our list to see again as the pedigree was of interest. We liked the sire and her dam was a decent mare in New Zealand that had ability and longevity. As a type, we thought she would furnish in time.”

Mulcaster pinpointed a moment in time – October 3, 2015 at Randwick – when they knew they were onto something special.

“I think her win in The Epsom announced she was the real deal and her first Cox Plate confirmed that,” he said.

“It is hard to single out one victory, but her determination and ability to overcome adversity is the thing which stands out to me.” – Guy Mulcaster.

“It is hard to single out one victory, but her determination and ability to overcome adversity is the thing which stands out to me.”

Putting into words what makes Winx so special is perhaps unfair to ask of anyone, but when pressed Mulcaster had this to say.

“Athleticism, the will to win and the ability to time and again run personal bests.”

While it will be a future decision for Kepitis, Treweeke and the Tighes to make, we asked Mulcaster for his thoughts on potential suitors for the mighty mare.

“That is obviously for the owners to decide, but wouldn’t it be nice for her to visit one of her ex-stablemates - Kermadec, Press Statement , Sacred Falls, Preferment, Zoustar or The Autumn Sun.” – Guy Mulcaster.

Guy Mulcaster would like to see The Autumn Sun as a potential suitor for Winx

“That is obviously for the owners to decide, but wouldn’t it be nice for her to visit one of her ex-stablemates - Kermadec, Press Statement, Sacred Falls, Preferment, Zoustar or The Autumn Sun.”

Mulcaster, who is from a racing family and has been involved in the thoroughbred industry all his life, has over the years forged a potent partnership with Winx’s trainer Chris Waller.

“We have had 46 Group 1 wins together,” he said.

Guy Mulcaster

The Vendor: Star of the Coolmore show

Eight lots offered by Coolmore at the Gold Coast five years ago bettered the price paid for Winx, who was bred by John Camilleri’s Fairway Thoroughbreds, but no star has subsequently shone brighter than hers.

Winx is out of Vegas Showgirl (NZ) (Al Akbar {NZ}), who won seven races including two Listed events and was Group 3 placed.

Vegas Showgirl

“Peter O’Brien bought the mare for John Camilleri and she was a very pretty mare,” Coolmore’s foaling manager Patrick Sheehan said.

“Winx was a lot like her mother as a foal. She was a lovely colour and had a very attractive head.” – Patrick Sheehan.

“Winx was a lot like her mother as a foal. She was a lovely colour and had a very attractive head.

“Vegas Showgirl could be tough to deal with at times and it became obvious when Winx was a weanling that she was also strong willed. There was no malice in her, but she was never a passive horse.

Winx as a foal

“She foaled during the day, which is relatively unusual and I don’t remember the foaling, which would suggest that it was pretty straightforward!

“She was a leggy, pretty filly as a very young foal. Looking back on it, it’s not surprising that she has continued to improve as she has matured.”

The Sales Company: a Magical Graduate

Magic Millions General Manager Barry Bowditch recounts his memories of 2013.

“I saw her three times - once in August during the selection process, in December and again at the sales,” he said.

“My recollection of her was that she had a lot of quality, very elegant but she would need a bit of time.” – Barry Bowditch.

“My recollection of her was that she had a lot of quality, very elegant but she would need a bit of time.

“We were very fortunate to have had her there and we’ve now sold the two highest-earning horses in Australia - her and Redzel.

“She’s been great for our marketing and for what she has done for racing. For engaging the public, people who know nothing about racing, she’s taken it all to another level.”

Winx as a yearling