Tulloch Lodge co-trainer Adrian Bott can’t see his veteran galloper Ecuador ending the winning run of super mare Winx in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday, but a bold performance will be a good pointer towards his chance in the Epsom Handicap.
Ecuador is marked at $51 at Ladbrokes.com.au to beat the $1.09 favourite Winx in the George Main Stakes while in early betting for the Group 1 $1m Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on September 30, the High Chaparral eight year is currently rated as a $26 chance.
“This is a natural progression towards the Epsom for us,’’ Bott told Racing New South Wales News.
“How do you tip against Winx, she’s been hugely impressive in her two starts but we’re just preparing our horse to the best of our ability.”
Winx is chasing her twentieth consecutive win in the George Main Stakes as she heads towards attempting to score her third win in the Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 28.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Ecuador will be stepping up to 1600m for the first time this preparation after two runs over the Randwick 1400m for a third to Winx in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes on August 19 followed by a fourth to Happy Clapper in the Group 2 $200,000 Tattersalls Club Tramway Stakes a fortnight later.
“The 1600m is getting up to his preferred trip now and I think we saw that last start,’’ Bott said.
“He raced well fresh and probably lost a bit of that dash. I wasn’t disappointed in the run but I think it showed he’s looking for a little further.’’
Ecuador is a natural front runner and his presence along with the Gerald Ryan trained Red Excitement will guarantee a solid pace in the early and middle stages of the George Main Stakes.
Red Excitement nearly stole the show last start in the Group 2 $250,000 Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 2 when Josh Parr let him set up a substantial lead and had every runner off the bit coming to the home turn, including the champion mare Winx.
Hugh Bowman had to rev Winx up earlier than he wanted to but the Queen Of The Turf responded magnificently to run down Red Excitement to score a one length win easing down, to record her nineteenth win on the trot.
Bott knows that Ecudaor will be up on the pace again and is wondering what Parr’s tactics will be on Red Excitement in the George Main Stakes.
“The big question mark will be the tactics adopted by Red Excitement this time around,” Bott said.
“We don’t mind a strong tempo either. He has the tactical speed if there isn’t one but a strong tempo would play into our hands as well.’’
Winx, with Bowman to ride again, has drawn the rails and will race with the ear muffs on again while Ecuador will jump from gate five with Adam Hyeronimus in the saddle.