April 15 (UPI) -- In a busy weekend on the international racing scene, Winx won her final race in Australia but potential new stars burst onto the scene from Hong Kong to Japan to Ireland.
And while Winx's final race was a victory, so was the first race by an offspring of American Pharoah.
Winx drew the outside gate for Saturday's Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick, the final start of a career that has put her firmly in the pantheon of the best-ever. No problem for jockey Hugh Bowman. Dropping Winx in behind most of the field, he let the 8-year-old Street Cry mare settle, got her going 600 meters out and swept by a stubborn Kluger in the final 100 meters to win by 1 1/2 lengths -- her 33rd straight and final victory. Familiar foes Hartnell and Happy Clapper finished third and fourth.
Breeding plans have not been announced but, wherever she goes, Winx carries consecutive-wins streaks in most of Australia's top races, including a remarkable quartet of Cox Plates.
"What a journey it's been," said regular rider Hugh Bowman, such a critical piece of the Winx entourage that she was scratched last season when Bowman was unable to take the mount because of a suspension. "It's hard to believe it's the end, actually."
Throughout her career, her owner syndicate and trainer Chris Waller resisted temptation and blandishments to take Winx abroad -- specifically, to Royal Ascot. As she wrapped up her all-Australia career, Waller said that decision was a key to her legacy.
"Her longevity is what sets her apart," he said. "She may not have lasted this long if she had gone overseas."
While Waller was shedding a nostalgic tear for Winx, he was celebrating the victory one race earlier in the Grade I Heineken 3 Australian Oaks of Veery Elleegant, a New Zealand-bred filly by Zed, who now has three straight wins. With Chris Waller up, Veery Elleegant went to the post as a solid favorite and won by nearly 2 lengths from Scarlet Dream.
Saturnalia was just up at the wire to win Sunday's first leg of the Japanese Triple Crown, the Grade 1 Satsuki Sho or Japanese 2000 Guineas at Nakayama Racecourse. The Lord Kanaloa colt remains undefeated in four starts and likely will be the favorite for the Grade 1 Tokyo Yushun or Japanese Derby May 26.
With Christophe Lemaire up, Saturnalia raced well off the pace and swung wide turning for home. With a bit of late encouragement, he put a head in front of Velox at the wire with Danon Kingly a nose farther behind. Admire Mars, the 2018 Japanese juvenile champion, was a further 2 lengths back in fourth.
Saturnalia finished the 2,000 meters in 1:58.1 over firm turf.
"I rode him for the first time in the race but I had confidence in him," Lemaire said. "He seemed a bit nervous and drifted towards the inside when we took command before the crowd."
Lemaire said going into the Satsuki Sho, Saturnalia "was not 100 percent as it was his first start this year. But he should be in top condition going into the Japanese Derby."
The colt's sire is quickly making a name for himself in Japan with Saturnalia joining in his progeny roster the likes of last year's filly Triple Crown winner and Japan Cup winner Almond Eye. Saturnalia was produced by dual Oaks winner Cesario.
It's all over in the UAE. The 2018-19 season wrapped up Friday night at Meydan with Ajwad winning the Nad Al Sheba Classic presented by Longines V.H.P. Collection at 2,000 meters on the turf and Thegreatcollection taking the Meydan Mile Sponsored by Azizi Riveria.
Ajwad, a son of Rock of Gibraltar with Bernardo Pinheiro up, led from the start and held off Majestic Mambo to win by a neck. Two starts back, Ajwad two starts earlier finished fifth behind Blue Point in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint. "This is a very good horse and a tough one," said winning trainer Rashed Bouresly.
The Meydan Mile was a tossup until well into the stretch run when Thegreatcollection, under Adrie de Vries, found a seam, burst through and went on to win by 2 1/4 lengths over stablemate Galvanize. Thegreatcollection is a 5-year-old Saint Anddan gelding.
Tune in again next season when the Dubai World Cup celebrates its 25th running and coincides with the Dubai 2020 Expo. Expect an even greater show than usual.
Magical, making her first start since finishing a gallant second behind Enable in the Breeders' Cup Turf, rallied by Irish St Leger winner Flag Of Honour to win Saturday's Alleged Stakes at Naas by 4 1/2 lengths under Ryan Moore. The race was a tough ask off the layoff as Irish Derby winner finished third.
"You'd have to be delighted with that performance," trainer Aidan O'Brien told Racing Post. "It was a lovely way to start her season and Ryan said she did everything easily ... We've never been as happy with her at this stage of the season as we are this year."
O'Brien mentioned the Prix Ganay or the Mooresbridge Stakes as targets for the 4-year-old Galileo filly with the Tattersalls Gold Cup on the farther horizon.
American Pharoah wasted no time getting on the board as a sire. The 2015 U.S. Triple Crown winner's first runner, Monarch of Egypt, took the lead 2 furlongs from home in Saturday's first race at Naas and steadily pulled away to win by a convincing 2 3/4 lengths as the odds-on favorite.
The colt was expected to win. Besides the sire influence, he was produced by Up, a Galileo mare who was a multiple graded stakes winner and finished seventh in the 2012 Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf. More, Ryan Moore had the mount for trainer Aidan O'Brien.
Stay tuned for more.
Speaking of impressive debuts, trainer John Moore said he bought Aethero, a Sebring gelding, at the Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale a month ago because, "as I said to everybody, he just caught my eye as being like Able Friend."
Wow. Moore, of course, trained Able Friend to four Group 1 wins and the top of the world's turf miler standings. So that's some eye-catching.
But the youngster got things off to a good start Sunday at Sha Tin, easily defeating six unraced rivals despite, in Moore's words, "not 100 percent today but he's so talented that he didn't need to be." Zac Purton rode Aethero, scoring his 100th win on the season -- ever closer to his third jockey championship.
"It's a good mark to hit, and on a horse like that as well. It's nice," Purton said.