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'I'm not convinced it's the right time to retire': Bowman's Winx vow

The question was simple: why is this the right time for the final act? Ever the optimist and ever so honest, Hugh Bowman didn't blink. He's not even sure the curtain should be pulled right now.

"I'm not convinced [the time's right to bow out]," Bowman shrugged about Winx. "She's bigger, she's stronger and more enthusiastic than she's ever been. She's as strong as ever. I'm not saying she's better than ever, but I'm certainly saying she's as good as ever. To answer your question, she's at the top of her game."

There was scuttlebutt on Monday morning suggesting there was the oh-so-faint chance Winx could still head overseas to Royal Ascot in a couple of months. Conquer the world like so many crave.

Her owners shot it down as quickly as you could say Queen Anne. It won't happen now, nor ever. Still asked whether it would a viable prospect, real or imagined, Bowman spoke glowingly. Australian racing's relentless winning machine could keep on going at the current rate.

Before Winx paints one final masterpiece in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Bowman painted Winx himself. It was part of a mural in the middle of the Sydney CBD driven by Tabcorp, who have paid out countless bets on her and are bracing for one final shellacking.

After four years of mostly sitting idle on Winx, sometimes slicing and weaving but mostly circling barely in second gear, the man who has the best and worst seat in Australian racing still can't quite fathom what the end will be like. It's the easiest and hardest job in his caper.

"I'm not preparing for that," Bowman said. "It's not about the end, it's about getting to the race and allowing her to do her thing. I'm sure in years I'll look back with a great sense of satisfaction and pride.

"Just because I don't cry doesn't mean I'm not emotional. Everyone is different. Just because I don't show tears doesn't mean I'm not feeling proud and emotional of what Winx has been able to achieve and what I've been able to do with her.

"When you've got your peers showing appreciation - they're the ones who really understand what it's like to be in a position I'm in - to me it's the holy grail.

"I've got a job to do and I try to keep that as simple as I can in my own mind. Whenever I have any doubts I only have to hop on her and canter to the barriers and those doubts are just released because she gives you this other confidence.

"The expectation is that she will win ... and win comfortably."

And it's exactly what more than an anticipated 40,000 people at Randwick will want to see for the second day of The Championships. The Winx mural, near Wynyard Park, had Bowman add the finishing touches to it on Monday.

"It makes me very proud, as with everyone else involved with Winx of course," Bowman said. "To have a mural here in the centre of the CBD in Sydney is something she thoroughly deserves. It's a very tactful painting, very classy. I just hope my presence doesn't let her down."

Article courtesy of Nine and The Brisbane Times

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