1400m showdown: Winx or Black Caviar?
WAS Winx or Black Caviar the decade's best racehorse?
Either champion mare is deserving of the title so it is a shame to have to split them but I've got Winx marginally ahead of Black Caviar.
Winx's 33 consecutive wins to close her race career including a world record 25 Group 1 successes was a phenomenal achievement - but then again, Black Caviar was invincible, winning all 25 starts, 15 at Group 1 level.
Australian racing was blessed to have two such all-time great champions competing in the same decade with Black Caviar having her final race start in 2013 and Winx making her debut the following year.
Comparing the two great mares is unfair as Black Caviar was peerless as a sprinter and Winx was supreme up to a middle distance but it does pose the question who would have won if the two mighty mares clashed over 1400m.
Trainer Chris Waller's period of sustained excellence since 2010 has been remarkable.
He has trained 105 of his 108 career Group 1 winners this decade including five Doncaster Miles, five Queen Elizabeth Stakes, four Cox Plates, seven George Ryder Stakes, four Sydney Cups, four Epsom Handicaps, six George Main Stakes, eight Chipping Norton Stakes, The Everest and the Golden Eagle.
Waller's decade of dominance has also included nine consecutive Sydney premierships featuring his effort to train an unthinkable 189 Sydney wins in the 2017-18 season, he has been the nation's leading Group 1 trainer the last seven seasons and has been inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Legendary trainers Tommy Smith, Bart Cummings and Colin Hayes were known as "The Dominators" but it is doubtful even this celebrated trio could boast a decade of such total dominance as Waller has enjoyed since 2010.
Hugh Bowman's ascension to the top of the Australian riding ranks has coincided with the Waller's stable's decade of success.
Bowman has been consistently outstanding in the saddle since 2010, riding an incredible 80 Group 1 winners and his partnership with champion Winx is one of the great horse-jockey partnerships of all-time.
Kerrin McEvoy also had a memorable decade with 52 Group 1 wins including two Melbourne Cups, two The Everests and a Golden Slipper - and both jockeys are managed by Bryan Haskins!
Black Caviar's win at Royal Ascot in the 2012 Diamond Jubilee Stakes is my choice as the standout race of the decade.
She was hot favourite and expected to win but wasn't at her best that day. Her jockey Luke Nolen stopped riding about 100m out but the Australian sprint queen still found a way to hold on for a famous win.
Black Caviar's brilliant defeat of Hay List in the 2011 TJ Smith Stakes was also one of the decade's great races while Winx features twice with her eight-length demolition of old rival Hartnell in the 2016 Cox Plate and then her runaway seven-lengths win in the 2017 George Ryder Stakes.
Chautauqua might have become the "recalcitrant racehorse" when his refusal to leave the barriers ultimately forced his premature retirement but this should not detract from the Team Hawkes-trained gelding's magnificence as a world-class sprinter.
The "Grey Flash" produced some of the most spectacular wins of the decade with his last-to-first charges including his TJ Smith Stakes hat-trick and that unforgettable win in the Hong Kong Chairman's Sprint Prize.
The decade's biggest racing news story is the continuing Darren Weir saga.
Weir was the most successful trainer in Victoria and established an Australian record with 492 wins in the 2017-18 season before his ultimate fall from grace.
Victoria police raided Weir's stables back in January which later led to charges of animal cruelty and other illegal practices. The trainer has been charged with nine offences including three counts of engaging in the "torturing, abusing, overworking and terrifying" of a thoroughbred.
Racing Victoria stewards have already disqualified Weir for four years.
RACING'S NEW PEAK
The Everest, the nation's richest race, is one of the real success stories of the decade.
Redzel won the inaugural The Everest in 2017 then repeated that triumph last year, before Yes Yes Yes ran a track record to win the Royal Randwick sprint this year.
Racing NSW introduced The Everest in 2017 with the race's massive prizemoney of $10 million largely funded by investors spending $600,000 per annum to secure a slot. The 12 starting positions were snapped up quickly and there is a waiting list of other interested parties now wanting to be involved with the race.
The Everest has been responsible for engaging a younger audience to the sport, attracting huge crowds each year and increasing betting turnover.
Initial criticism of The Everest has subsided and the sprint is now firmly established as one of the world's best races. When the Randwick sprint is run next year, it will have record prizemoney of $15 million.
When Michelle Payne became the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup on Prince Of Penzance in 2015, she made headlines around the world.
Payne's Melbourne Cup win was an inspirational moment in Australian sporting history and was made into a successful feature film, "Ride Like A Girl".
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN
Racing, by its very nature, is a dangerous sport and there is an understanding the sport can never be accident-free which only made the tragic death of jockey Nathan Berry due to a rare illness so difficult to accept.
Berry was only 23 when he lost his life five years ago to Norse Syndrome, an acute form of epilepsy. The memory of the talented, popular young jockey endures through the successes of his twin brother, Tommy, now one of the nation's most outstanding riders.
Racing is confronted by many challenges going into the next decade, including maintaining its presence as a mainstream sport and securing racing's revenue base by increasing wagering turnover.
But perhaps the biggest issue racing must deal with in coming years is around animal welfare. The racing industry has been making significant steps to address this issue in recent years but must continue to be proactive to ensure public confidence.
Tye Angland, the multiple Group 1-winning jockey, was left a quadriplegic as a result of injuries he suffered in a Hong Kong race fall last year.
The way the young father of three has courageously handled his situation and found a new direction in his life with various media roles including his expert commentary on Channel 7's racing coverage has been heartwarming and truly inspiring.