The 2018 Winterbottom Stakes is the feature race right around the country this weekend and a strong field has been assembled for the Group 1 event.
Viddora won this race 12 months ago and she will go into the 2018 edition of the race as a clear favourite.
Can Viddora become the first horse to win the Winterbottom Stakes in back-to-back years since Hardrada in 2003?
We have analysed the field and our complete 2018 Winterbottom Stakes tips can be found below.
Malaguerra returned to the races after a lengthy lay-off with a fairly flat effort in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes and he was never able to get into the race. He should take good improvement from that performance and he is a Group 1 winner, but $8 still seems like a ridiculous short price on the back of that first-up effort.
Voodoo Lad is the main danger to Viddora in the Winterbottom Stakes. The race really wasn’t run to suit him in the Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes and I like the fact that he has been freshened-up for this encounter. He is a horse that is capable of producing a high-rating performance on his day and his best form would have him right in this contest. The $8.50 currently available is nice value.
Durendal is another horse that offers genuine value at his current price. He was able to end a lengthy losing streak with an upset win in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes and his form before that had been very consistent. The Medaglia D’Oro gelding doesn’t win out of turn, but he is rarely far away at this level and he does add some value to exotics.
Rebel King will go into this contest first-up following a pair of barrier trials at Lark Hill. He took out both the Idyllic Prince Stakes and the Scenic Blast Stakes earlier this year, but he has never shown anything to suggest that he is capable of winning a race of this quality.
Malibu Style returns to Perth after what has been a fairly successful 12 months in Victoria. He returned to winning form with an upset victory in the Listed Doveton Stakes and there is no doubt that 1000 metres is his pet trip. Whether he is capable of winning a race of this standard over 1200 metres is a genuine query and he is a horse that I am happy to take on.
It has been over a year since Profit Street recorded a race win and he was fairly plain in the Colonel Reeves Stakes last start. He did run well in this race behind Viddora 12 months ago, but I don’t think he is going as well in 2018.
Ashlor has been sent to Melbourne after winning an edition of the Ladbrokes 55 Second Challenge at The Valley. He has only previously raced at Group level on one occasion, when he was soundly beaten by Voodoo Lad in the Ladbrokes Sir John Monash Stakes, and a race like the Winterbottom Stakes does seem beyond him.
Runson may be a six-year-old, but there is no doubt that he is racing in career best form. He smashed the track record when he won at The Valley on Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes Night and he wasn’t disgraced when third behind Osborne Bulls at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day. I still think that he needs to find another level in order to match it with the likes of Viddora, but there is no reason that he can’t finish in the placings.
Belter was given an opportunity at Group level last start and he finished a more than credible second behind Durendal in the Colonel Reeves Stakes. He still has the upside to improve, but I doubt that he is up to this.
Viddora is clearly the horse to beat in the Winterbottom Stakes and, in my opinion, should be shorter than the $3 that is currently available. She scored her first win at Group 1 level when she won this race 12 months ago and she returned to the races with an outstanding win in the Moir Stakes at The Valley. She failed to fire in The Everest, but she did have genuine excuses and this is a genuine drop in class. On her day, there is no horse in this field that can match her and with even luck in running she will prove extremely tough to beat.
Dainty Tess won the Prince Of Wales Stakes before she failed to fire as a short-priced favourite in the Colonel Reeves Stakes. She has always been a horse that is just below the level that is generally required to win at Group 1 level and the $15 that is currently available does seem around the right price.
I’ll Have A Bit
I’ll Have A Bit has been sent to Western Australia after finishing third in both the Absolut Stakes at Flemington on Kennedy Oaks Day and the Listed Doveton Stakes. She won the Euclase Stakes at big odds in the Autumn and she is probably an underrated galloper, but this still represents a serious challenge for her and I can’t get her as short as his current odds.
Enticing Star is the new boom Perth sprinter and we will find out if there is any substance to her in the Winterbottom Stakes. She has recorded eight wins from her nine race starts, but I have serious doubts that she is a genuine Group 1 sprinter. She hasn’t really smashed the clock in any of her race wins and she was badly beaten in the Waroa Lee Steere Stakes at Ascot last start. There is no doubt that she had genuine excuses in that contest, but I’m still not convinced that there is a legitimate elite talent there.
Seannie has been saved for the Winterbottom Stakes after she was scratched last Saturday. She returned to Perth with a win at Ascot on November 3 after a stint in Melbourne and this is obviously a big step-up in quality. There is definitely some talent there, but I’m not sure that this is the right race for her.
Valour Road won the Karrakatta Plate as a two-year-old, but he has failed to fire so far this campaign and he was soundly beaten in the Belgravia Stakes. He is one of the outsiders of this field for a reason.