Winx takes Tighe on ride of a lifetime

SITTING in the Prime Minister’s office on Tuesday night, sharing one of the specially made Winx beers, Peter Tighe couldn’t help but think how surreal the whole story around his champion has become.

Winx runs for history at Moonee Valley on Saturday.

No horse has won four Cox Plates. The horse she will supersede as the great race’s most successful runner, Kingston Town, was the first Australian horse to crack $1 million in prizemoney, back in 1981.

If Winx runs in the first five on Saturday, she will become the first to win $20 million.

Tighe and his wife Patty, along with fellow part-owner Debbie Kepitis, were special guests at a function held by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia in Canberra this week, where Australia’s most prominent politicians were keen to hear stories about the great mare and see the silverware that comes with it.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison caught up with Winx’s owners in his office at Parliament House in Canberra this week. Picture: Adam TaylorSource:Supplied

“We were inside the Prime Minister’s office with the three Cox Plates sitting on his desk. It was a bit surreal,” Tighe said. “We went to (federal Opposition Leader) Bill Shorten’s office and did the same thing.

“They were overwhelmed – I think you could say that – by the sporting achievements of Winx. They were all like schoolkids when we opened (the trophies) up and showed them all.

“People at the function had Winx hats on and were drinking Winx beer.”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison knocked back Tighe’s offer to share in a racehorse, but the experience was one that made the Queensland owner reflect on how remarkable Winx’s feats are.

“If you buy a horse and think you’re going to meet the Prime Minister people would think you’re a bit ridiculous, but that’s how it’s been,” he said.

Trainer Chris Waller watches as Winx enjoys a stroll at Flemington. Picture: Nicole GarmstonSource:News Corp Australia

The Winx beer has been a popular choice in Melbourne this spring and there will be plenty of cans sold at the Valley on Saturday.

“One of the girls at Moonee Valley thought it would be a good idea if they honoured Winx with a beer,” Tighe said.

“Carlton and United said ‘That sounds like a great idea’ and that’s what they’ve done.

“Everywhere you go down here they serve Winx beer.

Team Winx were honoured when Australia Post released a commemorative stamp to celebrate Winx’s the record-breaking 26th consecutive race.Source:News Corp Australia

“I bought a pallet of it myself.”

The Victorian capital has been gripped by Winx fever this week.

The riverfront adjoining Crown Casino was decked out with a huge screen, demountable grandstand and a host of Winx memorabilia – plus of course plenty of Winx beer – as a place to go for those who missed out on tickets to Moonee Valley.

“The Victorians have embraced it on a personal basis like an AFL grand final,’’ Tighe said.

“It’s as big as that. The town is almost blue and white from one end to the other. They have spared no expense.

Winx mania has gripped Melbourne. The great mare lit up Flinders Street Station. Source:

“To say it’s overwhelming would be an understatement.”

“Last year was unbelievable and this year is bigger than last year. It’s attracted the attention from one end of Australia to the other.”

Tighe never loses sight of the reason he has become a figure of public prominence.

He says Winx “means the world” to his family.

“She’s something that’s given us opportunities we would never even imagine,” he said.

Peter Tighe shows off one of Winx’s three Cox Plate’s in front of a mural of the great mare in Melbourne. Picture: Jay TownSource:News Corp Australia

“It’s something we can’t thank her for in a human kind of way, but we will always be indebted to her and the gratitude we will show to her is that she will have the best of everything for the rest of her life.

“It’s a phenomenon that you just can’t describe.

“You couldn’t have dreamt of it ever happening. Win, lose or draw (Saturday), it’s just been the trip of a lifetime.”

Originally published as Winx takes Tighe on ride of a lifetime

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