winterbottom stakes

It’s the sprinters’ turn in Perth this week with $1 million Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes. Champion Bets pro punter Cameron O’Brien – the man behind our Key Bets and Key Race Insights services – has put together his thoughts on this year’s race below.

The top of the market with TopSport currently looks like this (prices at Friday morning):

$2.30 Trekking
$7.50 Indian Pacific
$8 Celebrity Queen
$11 Stageman

Winterbottom Stakes: recent history

Another of Perth’s excellent Group 1s, the Winterbottom, and on recent figures it rates very well. Last year Hey Doc won with a rating of 118, but did get a strong leader bias that helped him do a bit more than he can generally can… but he was dominant nonetheless.

In 2016 Takedown came from a successful Spring campaign where he had won twice, getting to a peak of 116 in Sydney. He failed at Flemington in Cup week before this run… perhaps that’s why he was $9. He won with a rating of 114.

In 2017 Viddora came off a strong couple of runs at Moonee Valley in the Moir and the Manikato, rating 111 and 110 in those before she won this, holding that form. In 2018 Voodoo Lad came off a longer prep, one that started in May in Adelaide in the Goodwood and culminated in this. He had won the Aurie’s Star going 115 four starts before, but his form had tapered a bit before he won this, suddenly finding peak form under the guidance of Darren Weir… he won with 111.

Last year, Hey Doc was aided by a leader bias as I said. He was second-up off a short spell and a third going 107 at Sandown, and he did look like his best form was behind him a bit, however he has again proved that wrong by winning the G1 Manikato this Spring at the Valley.

Winterbottom Stakes: the chances

Trekking is clearly the horse to beat here – a high-class galloper who has the ratings on these, and who has been producing those figures recently. More on him below, though he’ll need some luck on the map. There’s a big gap after him, and if he doesn’t produce then it’s a bit of a raffle! Celebrity Queen is a nice mare who I think almost certainly has another level at some point, and if she finds that here she’ll be hard to beat. Perhaps there’s some significance in Pike choosing to ride Trekking over her though.

I was initially a little bit worried about the pace here, in that I thought there wouldn’t be enough. But with Carocapo out it brings emergency Condor Heroes (barrier 7) into the race, and that’ll ensure it’s truly run. I have Indian Pacific (barrier 4) kicking up, at least initially,  but I think Condor Heroes will cross and take it up, and it’ll very likely be genuinely run as a result. Laverrod (barrier 15) looks sure to be caught in no-man’s land

Those who go back and run on will get their chance, however as always it’s not ideal to be standing a big start at 1200m. Ideally, midfield with a trail or somewhere around there and pulling out with a strong closing run is the way to map here.

I have them in this order:

Trekking

High-class galloper who recently trialled up well at Belmont. Won the Goodwood earlier this year going 115, the same figure he did rating third in the 2019 Everest. Always needs luck how he maps, and from gate 11 will have to go back to get in, but Pike is a good engagement there. Will be descending in the straight.

Stageman

Talented horse at his top this prep. Beaten by the map last start but that is how he tends to race, and he may get a long way back here too. In fact, I map him towards the rear. That being said the pace should be good, which helps, and he has a strong closing run. Might be able to track Trekking into the race

Indian Pacific

Showed a heap of ability last prep, putting up some high ratings at Belmont. Came back winning first-up, but quite a way off his top and basically did the same second-up. If he can return to the peaks of last prep he’s right in this. One issue is he might get burned in the lead by Condor Heroes.

Celebrity Queen

Nice mare who we probably haven’t seen the top of yet. She has a strong finishing run and will appreciate the tempo on here. A new peak is a possibility, she’ll need to because it’s a step up in grade, but can’t say she won’t find it.

Valour Road

Good win two back when wide, then can forgive on the heavy last start. In form and maps well, and has a very good rider on on Mitcehll Pateman.

Laverrod

Nice horse who I think we’ve not seen the best of yet. Has a powerful turn of foot at his top. His issue here is the gate… he’s drawn terribly and I can’t see where he can get in.

Rock Magic

Eleven years old now… formerly a very good galloper and on his old form can certainly win this. Ran third in it last year too but the worry is his best is behind him.

Vital Silver

Has been a bit disappointing this prep and he is a seven-year-old now. A chance if he can bounce back off the three poorer runs he’s had this prep.

Red Can Man

Strange prep, from the Railway last week to the Winterbottom here! He is adept at 1200m though and should map handy. He should be fit anyway!

Elite Street

On the up, has won his last five in a row now. This is a step up in grade and he’ll need to rate more to win this, but I certainly can’t see he’s at his top yet.

Pro-punter Cameron O'Brien knows how to find value winners at big prices. He's done it time and time again for his Key Bets members. They get all of Cameron's tips from right across Australia, including stake, recommended price and runner comments.

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