The 2019 Winterbottom Stakes headlines a big day of racing at Ascot and we are set for one of the strongest editions of the Group 1 in recent memory.
The Godolphin duo of Trekking, Home Of The Brave and Viridine will take on some of the best sprinters in Perth, while Group 1 winner Hey Doc also adds plenty of interest to the race.
We have analysed every single horse in the field and our complete 2019 Winterbottom Stakes tips can be found below.
There is no doubt that Trekking is the horse to beat in the Winterbottom Stakes. He showed a lovely turn-of-foot to record an impressive win in the Schillaci Stakes before he produced arguably the best performance of his career to finish third behind Yes Yes Yes and Santa Ana Lane in The Everest. That was followed up with a second place finish behind Pierata in the Redzel Stakes and a repeat of any of those performances in the Winterbottom Stakes would make him extremely tough to beat. The $3 currently available does represent value.
Malaguerra has joined the stable of Vaughn Sigley after he failed to fire in his only start for Lindsey Smith in The Heath. He scored a nice barrier trial win at Lark Hill on November 18 and he did finish a credible third behind Voodoo Lad and Enticing Star in the Winterbottom Stakes 12 months ago. Consistency is not his strength, but he is still capable of a high-rating performance on his day.
Hey Doc might be the x-factor in the Winterbottom Stakes field. He returned from a spell of more than a year with a very close third in the Kevin Heffernan Stakes at Ladbrokes Park and he should take good improvement from that performance. In saying that, he will need to do that and sometimes horses do throw in a flat effort second-up from such a long spell. There is no doubt that he has the upside to win and $8 does seem the right price.
Rock Magic comes into the Winterbottom Stakes on the back of a rare flat performance in the Darley Sprint Classic at Flemington. Before that though he finished a credible fourth in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes and it is very rare to see him fail to fire at this level. Whether he has the upside to win a Group 1 at this stage of his career is the question, but the $7.30 currently available for him to finish in the placings is value.
Home Of The Brave
Home Of The Brave is the second Godolphin galloper in the Winterbottom Stakes field. He has been thereabouts without winning this preparation and I’m still not sure how he didn’t beat Teleplay in the Kevin Heffernan Stakes at Ladbrokes Park. I’m not sure that he is good enough to beat a firing Trekking, but he does have early speed and it would not surprise to see him take up the running in the early stages. He could be the horse to benefit if Trekking fails to fire and $15 is over the odds.
Durendal is the extreme outsider in Winterbottom Stakes betting. It has been well over a year since he recorded a race win and he was soundly beaten in the Colonel Reeves Stakes last start.
Viridine rounds out the Godolphin challenge in the Winterbottom Stakes. The Poet’s Voice gelding made a slow start to his Spring Racing Carnival campaign and he finished at the tail of the field in the TAB Stakes, but he was able to return to winning form with a good effort in the Doveton Stakes. This is a much tougher race though and I am confident that his stablemate Trekking has him covered.
Valour Road showed his quality when he won the Euclase Stakes in Adelaide before he finished a credible sixth in The Goodwood. He returned to the races with a slightly flat performance in the Prince Of Wales Stakes and there is no doubt that he would need to improve on that effort to be a genuine winning chance. $10 is around the right mark.
Endless Drama has been freshened-up for a first-up tilt at the Winterbottom Stakes. He started his season in New Zealand with an impressive win over Te Akau Shark in the Foxbridge Plate before he was sent to the spelling paddock following a flat effort behind Melody Belle in the Tarzino Trophy. I think that 1400 metres is his best trip and I would be surprised if he is able to beat the likes of Trekking over 1200 metres.
Vital Silver will return to Perth racing after he finished an excellent second behind Loving Gaby in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes. He did produce something of a spike rating in that race and his previous form wasn’t really up to that level. I’m skeptical whether he can produce another high-rating performance like that one and I am happy to take him on at the current odds of $6.50.
Spirit Of Valor
Spirit Of Valor hasn’t really fired this campaign. He showed some signs of life when he finished third behind The Inevitable in the Bendigo Bank Stakes at The Valley on Feehan Stakes Day, but he followed that up with a poor effort in the Testa Rossa Stakes. He has had some issues with lameness this campaign and it is hard to back him with any confidence.
Stageman ran the fastest closing 200 metres when he finished third behind Flirtini in the Prince Of Wales Stakes, but he was unable to replicate that sort of performance in the Colonel Reeves Stakes. He does look likely to get a long way back in the run and he is going to need plenty of luck in running to be a genuine winning chance.
A progressive Perth galloper makes their Group 1 debut in the Winterbottom Stakes every year and in 2019 that horse is Flirtini. The Western Australian Guineas placegetter finished a close third in the Crawford Stakes first-up before she went on to claim impressive wins in the Prince Of Wales Stakes and the Colonel Reeves Stakes. There is no doubt that she still has a stack of upside, but she would need to improve substantially to be able to mix it with the likes of Trekking. Because of that, I can’t get her as short as her current price.
Misty Metal gave Flirtini a serious race in the Prince Of Wales Stakes, but she tired late after leading in the early stages of the Colonel Reeves Stakes. She has won over 1200 metres in the past, but she is definitely a better horse over 1100 metres and it is tough to see her winning a race of this quality over 1200 metres.
Dubious is the only three-year-old in the Winterbottom Stakes field. He showed a huge amount of potential as a two-year-old, but it is fair to say that he hasn’t really gone on with the job this season. His run in the Danehill Stakes behind Dalasan was good, but he finished a flat fourth in the Blue Sapphire and this does look beyond him.