Horse racing - 'Freak' Winx claims record 23rd Group One win

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MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Australian racehorse Winx claimed a record 23rd Group One race win at the Chipping Norton Stakes at Royal Randwick in Sydney on Saturday, adding another mark to her storied career.

The bay mare stormed home to overhaul Happy Clapper by two lengths in the A$600,000 (321,648 pounds) 1,600 metre race, a near-identical finish to her Group Two win over the Pat Webster-trained entrant at the Apollo Stakes at Randwick two weeks ago.

Winx's 31st win in succession pulled her past the record of 22 Group One victories she held with retired Irish gelding Hurricane Fly.

"The horse, she is a superstar," said trainer Chris Waller. "She is very, very special."

Winx is expected to race two more times, with the Queen Elizabeth Stakes in Randwick in April likely to be her swansong.

"I can see the sun going down, hopefully we can get through two more races," added Waller.

Winx's fourth Chipping Norton Stakes win was no romp, however.

The seven-year-old was some seven lengths back of Happy Clapper coming in to the final turn but found her dependable extra gear.

"The pace was very solid throughout and we had to make our way into the race," said her long-time jockey Hugh Bowman.

"I know I probably looked in trouble at the 700 (metres)... but I knew she would she would find another gear and she did it with relative ease in the end, as I expected she would."

Happy Clapper jockey Blake Shinn could do little but applaud.

"What can I say about my horse?" he said. "He put up a Group One-winning performance but there are no superlatives you can say about the winner.

"She just a freak and she had to put up a freakish performance to beat Happy Clapper."

(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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