Over the last century or so Australia had been privileged to witness the exploits of some of the greatest racehorses in the history of thoroughbred racing. Our country is also unique in that it has produced a disproportionate number of the greatest champion mares and fillies in history. Here's a look at our pick of the greatest fillies and mares that spent the majority of their careers racing on Australian turf.
Black Caviar's status as the greatest mare in the modern racing era is indisputable. Bred for sprinting, she achieved the unthinkable by progressing through her sprint career without losing a single race. Not only did she manage to finish her career undefeated, but she contested 15 of her wins at the highest level. Her Group 1 exploits included winning the VRC Lightning Stakes three years in a row, and travelling to the United Kingdom to win the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Makybe Diva's achievements as a stayer were remarkable. Her victories included the Sydney Cup, Cox Plate and Queen Elizabeth Stakes. However, she'll be remembered as the first ever racehorse to take three wins in the toughest stayers race of them all, the Melbourne Cup. At the time of her retirement she had achieved the highest racehorse earnings in Australian history, winning over $14 million, and finishing 22 of her 36 starts in the places.
Winx's story is still being written, yet she has already secured her status as an all-time great. While she has suffered defeats, she has also matched Black Caviar's record of 25 consecutive wins in stakes races. These have included 18 Group 1 titles. What makes Winx remarkable is her versatility, as she has won both sprints and middle distance races. At present she has equalled the record of three consecutive wins in the Cox Plate, and is considered the finest active turf racehorse on the planet.
Flight was one of Australia's most popular racehorses during the 1940s, racing over a career that spanned five seasons. During this time she won 24 races, including two titles each in the Cox Plate and Craven Plate. She is remembered for beating some of the great horses of the period, including Royal Gem, Russia and Shannon. She even notched a win over the legendary Bernborough in the 1946 McKinnon Stakes when the great stallion pulled up injured as the two were tussling for victory in that race.
Wakeful is perhaps the most versatile mare to grace Australian racecourses. During her career at the turn of the 19th century she achieved wins at distances ranging from 1100 meter sprints to 3200 meter marathon stayer races. Like many of history's most famous racehorses, she rose to greatness after a late start to racing caused by an injury. When she hit her stride she was sensational, failing to place just three times during her 44 race career. Her exploits included three wins in the McKinnon Stakes.
Sunline carved out a special niche for herself as the greatest middle distance racehorse of the modern era of Australian racing. Her race record included 32 wins from 48 starts, including 13 wins in 25 Group 1 races. Her feats included consecutive wins in the Cox Plate and a pair of wins in the Doncaster Handicap, considered the most formidable mile race in Australia. She was also unusual in that she competed in many races in New Zealand, where she is also considered an all-time great.
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