Ultimate honour for wonder horse Winx
ALREADY decorated with racing's highest accolades, Winx has been paid the ultimate tribute - elevation into the sport's hall of fame while still active.
The wonder mare, winner of her past 16 starts and bidding for a record-equalling third successive Cox Plate in October, is among 11 inductees to be honoured on Friday night.
Winx and fellow champions Archer, Light Fingers and Saintly will be feted along with the Melbourne Cup's most successful owner Lloyd Williams.
Jockeys John Miller and Tommy Corrigan and trainers Brian Courtney and Des Judd have also been singled out of for the racing industry's highest honour, which acknowledges equine and human heroes of the turf to have achieved greatness.
Winx is only the third horse to be inducted into the racing hall of fame while still active behind Black Caviar and Sunline.
Former steward Alan Bell and WA's Lee-Steere family will also be inaugurated into the pantheon of Australian racing.
While Archer (1861-62) and fellow Melbourne Cup winners Light Fingers (1965) and Saintly (1996) were bona fide stars, Winx's inclusion is a nod to her extraordinary talent in an intake spanning almost 160 years.
With 20 wins and just three seconds from 26 starts, Winx already has amassed almost $13 million in prizemoney.
Her most recent defeat came in April, 2015 when second to Gust Of Wind in the Australian Oaks at Randwick.
A formidable judge of stayers, Perth's Miller remains one of Australian racing's most charismatic figures.
He partnered champions such as Galilee and Tobin Bronze and won premierships in Singapore, Adelaide and Perth.
His forays from WA to the east coast regularly yielded big race successes, including a VRC Derby on Haymaker, Adelaide Cup on Panamint and Australian Cup on Dulcify.
Born in Ireland, Corrigan rode his first winner in Victoria as a 13-year-old.
A phenomenal jumps jockey, Corrigan won seven Grand Nationals, amassing the astonishing record 238 wins and 230 placings from 788 rides.
He died as a result of a fall in the VATC Grand National Steeplechase on August 11, 1894.
His funeral was one of the largest ever seen in Melbourne with a cortege of more than 250 vehicles.
A member of an extended and successful racing family, Courtney won three successive Victorian trainers premierships.
A perfectionist, he handled Cox Plate winner Dhaulagiri and VRC Derby winners New Statesman and Coppelius.
Judd also claimed three Victorian trainers crowns, the first in 1954-55 before taking a sabbatical to work in hotels.
He resumed training the early sixties and added two more premierships between 1965-67.
His feature scalps included the Caulfield Cup, Victoria Derby, VRC Oaks, VRC St Leger, Newmarket Handicap, Oakleigh Plate, Goodwood Handicap, Australian Cup, Sandown Cup and Doomben Cup.
A former amateur rider, Bell served Victorian racing as administrator from 1924 to 1955.
As a steward, he was famed for strict but fair application of the law, cracking "down hard on wrongdoers brought before him."
With five Melbourne Cup winners - Just A Dash (1981), What A Nuisance (1985), Efficient (2007), Green Moon (2012), and Almandin (2016) - property developer and businessman Williams has no ownership peers when it comes to Australia's most famous race.
But he has also enjoyed a string of other features including the Sydney, Adelaide and Brisbane Cups, Golden Slipper and both Victoria and AJC Derbies.
He also served on the VRC committee.
The Lee-Steere family has had a major influence on racing in WA for more than a century.
Generations of the family were chairmen of the WA Turf Club, while also owning a string of top-line gallopers and helping establish the WA breeding industry.