Schedule doesn’t aid Winterbottom
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 betting.club) 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.