A Horse Named Winx: first look at new Australian doco

Directed by Janine Hosking and written by Andrew Rule, the racehorse documentary about the 'modern Phar Lap' will hit cinemas in September.
A Horse Named Winx and trainer Chris Waller.

Known as Australia’s greatest racehorse, Winx was the Phar Lap of the modern era. She managed to pull off the impossible – 33 straight wins – in a feat unlikely to ever be repeated.

Though she retired in 2019, Winx is still breaking records, with her only foal sold this year at auction for a record $10 million dollars. This makes the racehorse ‘one of Australia’s most famous mothers’ according to Transmission Films, who today announced the documentary,  A Horse Named Winx – ‘the story of one of our greatest athletes’ – that will be released in cinemas across Australia on 5 September.

The trailer and poster have also been revealed.

>Poster for A Horse Named Winx. Image: Transmission.

A Horse Named Winx is directed by Janine Hosking (My Khmer Heart, Knowing the Score) and written by journalist and author Andrew Rule, who also narrates. The cinematographer is Kevin Scott (Rabbit-Proof Fence, Master and Commander: the far side of the world.)

The film promises to go behind the sports headlines and big wins ‘to reveal the unforgettable spirit of [a] champion who away from the racetrack faced her biggest battle and once again refused to be beaten.’

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Known during her heyday as the ‘people’s horse’, Winx is ‘an Australian icon who transcended her sport— joining the realms of fellow legends like Cathy Freeman and Sir Donald Bradman.’

Winx’s final race was watched by a world television audience in its millions, and as sports commentator, Bruce McAvaney, noted, ‘We’ve never had a horse mean so much to so many people.’

Trailer for A Horse Named Winx

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The synopsis turns the horse into a familiar heroine: ‘From the wilful foal who was hard to catch, to a plain leggy teenager who kept to herself and turned her back on affection, Winx became a front page phenomenon and in the process swept her trainer Chris Waller and jockey Hugh Bowman on to the world stage and in the middle of a “horse racing fairytale” that tested them to the limit.’

Chris Waller, the trainer who masterminded Winx’s winning streak was quoted as saying, ‘I only now feel like I am ready to tell the story of what we went through.’ He will feature in the film alongside the horse known as ‘the Queen’, Hugh Bowman, and the team who made her a champion.

A Horse Named Winx is funded by Screen Australia, in association with Screen NSW and Longines.

Rochelle Siemienowicz is the ArtsHub Group's Education and Career Editor. She is a journalist for Screenhub and is a writer, film critic and cultural commentator with a PhD in Australian cinema. She was the co-host of Australia's longest-running film podcast 'Hell is for Hyphenates' and has written a memoir, Fallen, published by Affirm Press. Her second book, Double Happiness, a novel, will be published by Midnight Sun in 2024. Instagram: @Rochelle_Rochelle Twitter: @Milan2Pinsk