The Group 1 Crown Perth Winterbottom Stakes is the second of three Group 1’s to make up The Masters carnival at Ascot in WA. Saturday’s feature race is for the sprinters over 1200m and will be followed by the Kingston Town Classic (1800m) next weekend.
The track will be a Good 4 and the rail is out 3m from last weekend’s meeting.
Looks like they’ll go quick here because we have a few horses engaged that love to run along. I think that will see the field fairly strung out in the first 400m of the race, which could allow those drawn wide to slot in. Runson is drawn the carpark and will definitely come across to challenge for the lead, but he may be held out by the three-year-old Valour Road, who will probably look to make the most of the weight advantage he has. Belter is drawn inside both of them and could well kick up himself in search of the lead. Durendal is another that draws wide and will likely go forward and attempt to slot in on the pace somewhere. Rebel King gets a good sit behind the leaders from barrier 4, as does Malibu Style from barrier 6. Malaguerra and Ashlor both draw reasonably well in barriers 7 and 8 respectively; I think they’ll both try and sit forward of midfield but won’t be getting into any speed battles. Viddora draws perfectly in barrier 5 to take up a spot in midfield, or perhaps a touch worse than midfield. Voodoo Lad and Dainty Tess both draw wide and will be trying to slot in just behind midfield. There’s a chance Voodoo lad could be caught wide. Profit Street will need to be ridden for luck as he’ll probably be last on the rail. I’ll Have A Bit and Enticing Star will both be back at the rear with him. Overall, I think we’ll get a good tempo set and I’d be surprised if the frontrunners were still there at the end.
Only fair first up in the Moir Stakes, which was his first run for 49 weeks. He finished third last, beaten 5.4L and comes into the Winterbottom second up. He’s trialled since his first up run and he also gets the blinkers applied for the first time in his career today. That indicates they’re throwing absolutely everything at this to win (Malaguerra’s owner is WA-based and is on record saying how much he wants to win this race) but is he going well enough? No doubt he’s going to improve with that first up run under his belt but he’s now a 7YO and his best days look to be behind him. With that said, he’s a genuine Group 1 horse on his day and as we saw in last year’s Winterbottom, that form really comes to the fore in this race. Interesting to see what effect the blinkers have.
Another that is a genuine Group 1 horse on his day, but he tends to mix that form a touch. His form around the likes of Home Of The Brave, Ball Of Muscle and Brave Smash from earlier this prep would put him right in the mix here, but the draw hurts him. Barrier 14 means he’s going to have to go back and probably try and loop the field. That’s not an easy thing to do at Ascot. You can never rule out this stable in these races (although Weir’s two Railway Stakes runners went terrible), but it would be a big effort if he was to win.
Finally broke through for his first win in WA last start, getting the better of Belter and Scales Of Justice. He’s going to risk being caught wide from barrier 12 – he won’t be able to sit outside the leader today because there’s a couple of others that will land ahead of him. He will run his usual honest race but he is a Listed/Group 3 horse and meets a pretty decent field here.
Obviously targeted this race first up as he resumes with two trials under the belt, bar plates off and blinkers on again. His first up record is very good – he’s got three wins and five placings from 10 starts – and he’s got four wins at the distance from a total of 11 career wins. Surprisingly, only one of those 1200m wins has come at Ascot (his only win at the track from 12 starts). The big thing in his favour is the draw, which should allow him to get a gun run behind the speed. He can run well but there’s better horses in the field.
Now has four Melbourne wins to his name after a last-start victory in the Listed Doveton Stakes at Sandown. Returns to Perth now and steps up to 1200m again, which I don’t think is ideal for him. His last three wins have all been at 1000m-1100m and he’s only won once from 21 starts at the 1200m in his career. I think he’s better suited to the shorter trips and a strong-run 1200m might test him out. With that said, he’s drawn well and gets a perfect run just forward of midfield so he can run well.
Probably one of the big smokies in the race at $34. The big issue for him is the speed map and his racing pattern. He’s likely to be last on the rail from barrier 2 and his best chance of victory is probably riding for luck in the straight. If they try to pull him out wide like they did last start, I doubt it will work. But if they ride him like they did first up when he flashed home behind Dainty Tess, he could run into the money. He’s got a terrible second up record, so forget he went around last start, but his third up record suggests he’s capable of bouncing back. Include in numbers.
Another Eastern States raider who creates a bit of interest. Comes off a strong win first up at Moonee Valley in a 955m dash and he’s got a good second up record with two wins from three starts. He’s got nine career wins and rarely runs a bad race but anything beyond Open handicap level has tested him thus far. Draws favourably but I’d be surprised to see him win.
Produced back-to-back wins in very impressive fashion at Cranbourne and then Moonee Valley, before running 3rd to Osbourne Bulls in a straight race at Flemington during the Melbourne carnival. That was his first placing from five starts at Flemington, which indicates to me he’s come back a much better animal this time in. Back around a bend suits and the Ascot track in particular is perfect for him, but there’s just so much pace in the race that I don’t think he’ll be able to control the race as he likes to do. If they go slower than anticipated and he manages to get across and sit outside the leader, he’s a chance of winning, but I envisage the pressure in the race bringing the frontrunners undone.
Brave run first up in the Colonel Reeves Stakes where he led all the way but was just run down late by Durendal. He tackles his pet track and distance now – he’s got four wins from six starts at the 1200m at Ascot – and barrier 1 should see him kick up to lead. He’s led his last six races so I doubt they’ll be giving up the inside barrier to take a sit. Rarely misses out on a cheque but again, the pressure in the race might bring him and the other leaders undone.
How does she lose this? If she’s at her best, she just wins surely. She bolted in to win this race last year and returned in emphatic style this prep with a dominant win in the Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley. She’s since run in the Everest, where she failed, but that could have been down to the saturated track. She looks to have freshened up well with a solid trial win leading into this and from barrier 5, she gets the run of the race. The expected pace will bring her right into the race and if she’s got a five length headstart on the likes of Enticing Star, she’ll be very hard to run down.
Fairly flat last start when 4th in the Colonel Reeves Stakes behind Durendal, but she was also coming from a long way off the speed and given plenty to do. Even so, she was under pressure a long way out and never looked like winning. She did still manage to run the second-fastest final 400m and final 200m (Profit Street ran the quickest) so perhaps now she’s looking for the slightly longer trip of 1200m. Barrier 11 is a bit awkward and she’ll need a good piece of riding to slot in and avoid being caught wide. Place chance.
This mare has flown a bit under the radar and she looks a good chance at good odds. She’s measured up to elite Group 1 company before, as evidenced by her 2nd placing in this year’s Goodwood in Adelaide behind Santa Ana Lane. That form looks as good as any right now. Her two runs back this time in have both been super and she steps up to 1200m now, which is the distance of her only two career wins. Her biggest problem will be having to come from the very back of the field, which isn’t easy to do at Ascot, but if they go hard and she gets a nice tow into the race, expect her to be motoring home.
Suffered her first career defeat last start when she performed well below par to be beaten 3.25L by Gatting in the Lee-Steere Stakes. It’s very well known that she was in season that day and I think that’s a good enough reason to forgive her, especially given she was undefeated leading into it. She’s since trialled well enough to suggest she’s back on track and she’ll wear the blinkers for the first time on raceday for this. She has the ability to reel off some freakish sectionals for her final 600m, but I have two queries. The first of which is her racing pattern. From barrier 13 she’s probably going to be last on the turn and she’s got a couple of good ones ahead of her to run down. She also drops back from 1400m to 1200m. Bob Peters said publicly she would have been running in the Railway Stakes in an ideal world, but he already had the likes of Galaxy Star for that race so he’s kept her to the sprint distance. It wouldn’t shock me to see her win but there’s a couple of questions she needs to answer, hence we’re getting a much better price than we were before her last start flop. I’ll definitely be saving on her with $6.00 available.
The sole three-year-old in the field and he carries just 54.5kg as a result. He won his first two starts as a two-year-old in the Pinjarra Magic Millions and the Karrakatta Plate, but he’s since failed to go on with it. He has carried 60kg in both his runs this time in, so he’ll appreciate the big drop in weight, but he might well get caught in a speed battle and that will make it hard for him to win this. Looks outclassed.
I’m expecting class to rise to the fore here and the best sprinter in the field is Viddora. She won this race easily last year and if you ignore her last-start failure in The Everest, her form looks incredibly good to go back-to-back. With the good draw, if she runs to her best, she’ll win again. We’re getting much better odds about Enticing Star as a result of her flop in the Lee-Steere Stakes last start. Happy to forgive her for that run as she was in season, but she’s going to need to be at her brilliant best to win coming from last. I’ll Have A Bit is the value in the race at $13. Profit Street the knockout at $34. Malaguerra and Voodoo Lad not hopeless.
2nd ENTICING STAR
3rd I’LL HAVE A BIT
4th PROFIT STREET
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