Sched­ule doesn’t aid Win­ter­bot­tom

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - NEIL EVANS

IT’S the Group 1 WFA sprint squeezed in be­tween a flag­ship mile and an 1800m race named hon­our of one of our great­est, but to­mor­row’s Win­ter­bot­tom Stakes (1200m) might be headed for “no-man’s land,” and that’s not an ob­ver­sa­tion from afar, plenty in WA fear the same.

Sev­eral cor­re­spon­dents went out of their way this week to tell me the so-called “Mas­ters” style of three straight Satur­day Group 1’s so close to the end of the Mel­bourne Spring isn’t work­ing.

There seems a grow­ing feel­ing WA should head back more into the heart of sum­mer. I tend to agree, and I’ve never un­der­stood why the Win­ter­bot­tom is the race in the mid­dle.

When there’s such a dis­tance to travel and pre­pare, surely the sprint should be first, two weeks into the Rail­way (1600m) and an­other fort­night be­fore Kingston Town — many Eastern sprinter/mil­ers could run in all three, with a lit­tle more preparation and re­cov­ery time.

Why not the Win­ter­bot­tom first Satur­day in Dec.; Rail­way third Satur­day in Dec. and Kingston Town first Satur­day in Jan on the same day as the Group 2 Perth Cup as an al­most New Year wel­come meet­ing to crown the As­cot Sum­mer Car­ni­val.

It would work so much bet­ter for trav­el­ling sta­bles, es­pe­cially those opt­ing out of the Gold Coast in early Jan.

Ad­mit­tedly, RWWA doesn’t have a lot of room in which to wrig­gle, but “step­ping stone” logic surely wins here, and would also al­low for more op­por­tu­nity to boost the Win­ter­bot­tom meet­ing, with no other black-type race on card.

That’s not to say there isn’t a cou­ple of smart ones go­ing around to­mor­row, but se­ri­ously when it comes to depth and qual­ity, where have the re­ally good in­vaders gone?

Of course, noth­ing will match 2008 when the great Takeover Tar­get won a thriller over fel­low gen­er­a­tional sprinter Apache Cat, but the late great Scone mare Orten­sia won twice in 2009 and 11, the sec­ond time beat­ing the very good Snow­den-trained gal­loper Rar­i­fied.

Former grand QLD sprinter Buf­fer­ing won in 2013 and 15; while last year a very strong edi­tion Syd­ney raider Take­down beat high class Mel­bourne gal­loper Shei­del, with good Victorian sprint­ers Mala­guerra and Keen Ar­ray down the track.

No such vis­it­ing stature on show this year, although 5YO en­tire Santa Ana Lane did win the Group 1 Sir Ru­pert Clarke back on Oc­to­ber 1, and Fuhryk claimed the Listed Alinghi Stakes three weeks later.

SA has a gen­uine chance in high-class Vid­dora who ran 2nd in the Group 1 Moir be­hind She Will Reign in late Sept; but rest are lo­cals headed by su­per-slick 5YO State Solic­i­tor — beaten only a len in last year’s race who gets his chance to launch suc­cess­ful home­grown prose­cu­tion.

I’m con­fi­dent what­ever beats State Solic­i­tor ($3.20 early bet­ wins the race, but as we know, high­pres­sure around As­cot comes with doors and win­dows — and plenty of luck open­ing

shut­ting seem­ingly ev­ery stride.

I’m wary of Santa Ana Lane ($7.50) who can fire off a nine­week break and I like the fact he’s drawn well away from fence. Any cover he’s in the fin­ish. My WIN­TER­BOT­TOM Tips:

1. STATE SOLIC­I­TOR; 2. Santa Ana Lane; 3. Vid­dora

T MY best value bet on a re­ally good Group 3 Rose­hill card to­mor­row is Black On Gold ($4.80) in the Listed Race 6 ATC Cup (2000m) who looks well-placed on the 53kg min­i­mum; while look out for 6YO Pow­er­line ($9.00) sec­ond-up in the BM 85 Race 9 (1300m), back from a strong BM 90 Greys’ race over the Flem­ing­ton car­ni­val, he looks well placed here.

AND to­day (Fri­day) one of the real fun NSW Coun­try Cup Day meet­ings ig­nites at Mudgee in cen­tral NSW.

It’s be­come an an­nual visit for me, and again club sec­re­tary Colleen Walker has done an­other tire­less job amid a boost in prize­money via the meet­ing’s “Show­case” billing.

The $50K Cup is an­other rock-solid edi­tion, with top lo­cal train­ers Gayna Wil­liams, Mack Grif­fith and Cameron Crock­ett very prom­i­nent.

Last Satur­day’s Rose­hill High­way win­ner Sched­ule is likely to jump clear fav; but I’m warm­ing big-time to Galaxy War­rior who has lump 61kgs, but is drawn well and scream­ing out for the mile.

State Solic­i­tor is Neil’s top tip in to­mor­row’s Win­ter­bot­tom Stakes.

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