Local mare Magnifisio will carry the hopes of the West when she takes on the invaders from the Eastern states in the Group 1 $750,000 Crown Perth-Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth on Saturday.
The final field of thirteen is dominated by the high rating sprinters from the East with the Moment Of Change, Sidestep, Bel Sprinter and Angelic Light coming out of Melbourne while last start Flemington winner Eclair Big Bang is prepared by top Adelaide trainer Phillip Stokes.
The remainder of the weight for age field is made up of Western Australian trained gallopers and except for the Jim Taylor trained Magnifisio, rated 106, all are rated under the 100 mark – Watermans Bay (98), Shining Knight (91), Rock Magic (91),Testamezzo (87), Tiger Pete (82), Ysmael (79) and Windswept (75).
Top Perth trainer Jim Taylor said that he had to pump the work into Magnifisio to get her back on track and was rewarded with a last start win in the Group 2 $250,000 Waroa-Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) at Ascot on November 8 following her fourth in the Group 3 $150,000 Sea Corp Starlight Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m) at Ascot two weeks earlier.
“I haven’t let up on her in the last fortnight,” Taylor said.
“She’s 10kg lighter since that unplaced run in the Prince Of Wales.”
Cranbourne trainer Robbie Griffiths will saddle up the favourite Angelic Light and he is hoping the five year old mare can reproduce her Melbourne Spring Carnival form hat saw her beat champion sprinter Lankan Rupee in the Group 2 $200,000 Mitty’s McEwen Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on September 6 and then only get beaten a head by Lankan Rupee in the Group 1 $1m Sportingbet Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
The Peter Moody trained Moment Of Change is making his second trip to Ascot after running second to Buffering in last year’s version but has struggled to regain his best form during the Melbourne Spring Carnival.
After finishing eighth, beaten less than a length in the a blanket finish in the Manikato Stakes, the three time Group 1 winner was beaten just on three lengths when fifth to Terravista in the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
Bel Sprinter from the Jason Warren stable blew the start last time out when sixth in the Group 2 $300,000 tab.com.au Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on November 1 but produced his trade mark flying finish first up when he dead heated for first with Miracles Of Life in the Group 2 $200,000 Perri Cutten Caulfield Sprint (1100m) at Caulfield on October 18.
While the John O’Shea trained Sidestep will benefit greatly from his only Spring appearance when eighth in the Darley Classic.
The barrier draw for the Winterbottom Stakes will take place at The Groove Lounge at Crown Perth on Tuesday November 18 from 5pm local time.
The 2014 Winterbottom Stakes Field
- Moment Of Change, Luke Nolen.
- Sidestep, Nash Rawiller.
- Bel Sprinter, Ben Melham.
- Watermans Bay, Steven Arnold.
- Testamezzo, Peter Knuckey.
- Shining Knight, William Pike.
- Tiger Pete, Shaun McGruddy.
- Eclair Big Bang, Don Tourneur.
- Rock Magic, Jarrad Noske.
- Windswept, Brad Parnham.
- Ysmael, Joseph Azzopardi.
- Magnifisio, Jason Brown.
- Angelic Light, Damien Oliver.