Anthony Darmanin drives Mystic Journey to victory (Image: Racing Photos)
Australian racing will soon be without a pin-up horse with the impending retirement of Winx in Sydney next month but Mystic Journey's trainer Adam Trinder for one suspects there is an obvious replacement in the wings.
"The Group 1 (Australian Guineas) was obviously a pinnacle a fortnight ago but to win the richest mile race in the world only two weeks later, she's a filly on an upward spiral and we don't know where the bottom of her is," he said after Mystic Journey's famous All-Star Mile victory at Flemington on Saturday.
"We'll protect her, look after her and she might be able to take over the mantle of Winx."
WATCH: Hear from Trinder after the race
Winx has a picket fence of wins that stretches 31 panels and while Mystic Journey's fence lasts just six panels, few would argue she will not assume Winx's mantle of Australia's best race mare when the latter sails off into retirement.
One of the unsung heroes of the Mystic Journey team is rider Anthony Darmanin, who could lay claims to being one of Australian racing's quietest achievers.
His figures don't give a hint as to his true ability. The 36-year-old has been riding for 18 years and has about 730 winners - which equates to about 40 winners a season. But for Darmamin, his value is as a trackwork rider.
He works full-time up at Macedon Lodge for owner Lloyd Williams and has done so for eight or nine years. Williams values his work ethic and ability to rate a horse to the exact speed he wants.
On the weekends, Darmanin travels to Tasmania to take his only race rides for the week.
Two weeks ago, he rode his first Group 1 winner on the filly and on Saturday, rode an inspired race to beat the might of Godolphin.
"It's unbelievable. It's amazing. She is a filly that keeps raising the bar every time I ride her," Darmanin said.
"She just keeps trying and giving her all. Lloyd has got some great horses but she is something pretty special."
After settling Mystic Journey ($3.60 fav) midfield, the filly made her run late and she burst clear to win by a length-and-a-quarter from Hartnell ($13), with a nose to stablemate Alizee ($4.20) in third place just ahead of the brave and consistent miler Le Romain.
WATCH: Mystic Journey's win
The race turned sour for Sydney star Happy Clapper as the $4 chance faded from a prominent position on the home turn to finish eighth but he will need a veterinary clearance to race again after pulling up with exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage.
Urban Ruler, who led the public vote until the final day of voting, started at $201 and failed to beat a horse home, finishing a length-and-a half behind Moss 'N' Dale.