Trainer Simon Miller is confident that sprinter First Among Equals is far better than his 2016 Winterbottom Stakes odds suggest, leading into the Group 1 feature race at Ascot on Saturday.
First Among Equals has been a strong and consistent performer throughout his entire racing career so far; posting ten wins and a further six minors through twenty-two starts, but is incredible currently available at Winterbottom Stakes odds of $21.
Having finished tenth in the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1000m) and seventh in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) in his two starts since returning this time, Miller believes that the Exceed And Excel gelding has been extremely unlucky and is primed for a big performance in the Winterbottom Stakes.
“He’s been awfully unlucky in his two runs in this time,” Miller told Racing Ahead.
“He’s done more work on the Tuesday leading into them.
“First up he ran second last with the handbrake on all the way up the straight, just couldn’t get out and then last start was bolting, no runs outside so we ducked back to the inside and got held up.
“He’s flying the horse, I just really needed to draw middle-to-outside and we’ve drawn nine, so it’s deal.
“His work on Tuesday was up to his high standards and to get a good gauge on the locals – Rock Magic is about third-favourite and my horse last winter had that horse covered every time they met.
“I’ve got some good horses but I think he’s my best. I’ve got full respect for the eastern raiders; I watched Malaguerra work on Tuesday morning and it was quality, but I reckon my boy is flying and he’s one of the better chances of the locals.”
Miller was thrilled when First Among Equals draw into the Winterbottom Stakes field in barrier 9 and believes that the horse will be given every opportunity in the race.
“He’ll be midfield or worse. His asset is his turn of foot, which is electric, so as long as he gets clear galloping room, he’ll get every chance to swoop over the top,” he said.
First Among Equals returned from a freshen-up on July 30th this year to win the Listed HG Bolton Sprint (1200m), before repeating the dose in the Listed Belmont Newmarket Handicap (1200m) and ending his run second in the Listed Idyllic Prince Stakes (1300m).