Whittington Has Chance To Impress In Challenge Stakes

By: Thomas Hackett
March 14th, 2014

Waterhouse stable foreman Mark Newnham believes that Whittington has the opportunity to stamp himself as an elite sprinter when he takes on a strong 2014 Challenge Stakes field at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Whittington scored a strong win in the Magic Millions Sprint, but we will face a far tougher field in the Challenge Stakes this weekend.

Whittington scored a strong win in the Magic Millions Sprint, but we will face a far tougher field in the Challenge Stakes this weekend. Photo by: Daniel Costello

Whittington will be returning to the races for the first time since he took out the Magic Millions Sprint (1100m) at the Gold Coast on January 11 and Newnham told Racing Ahead hat he is excited to see how the Tale Of The Cat colt performs when he takes on the likes of Buffering and Snitzerland in the Group 2 event this weekend.

“He is a good fast horse and he handles the conditions well,” Newnham said.

“This is a good opportunity to test him at this level.

“He looks to be a pure sprinting horse and he goes in there with some residual fitness from the Gold Coast.

“I think that the only time he has run over 1000 metres at Randwick was the Breeders Plate, so we know that the track and distance is good for him.”

Jockey Tommy Berry is yet to miss a placing in his four race starts on Whittington, highlighted by his impressive victory on debut in the Listed Thoroughbred Breeders Plate (1000m) and his Magic Millions Sprint win, and in-form hoop is hoping that the three-year-old can produce another strong performance tomorrow.

Berry admits that this is a significant step-up in class for Whittington, but said that he plans to ride the colt aggressively and give the rest of the Challenge Stakes field something to chase in the final stages of the race.

“He might not be right up to them, but he has definitely shown that he has got plenty of ability,” Berry said.

“He has always been very competitive in the grade that he has been racing in, but he has never been up against the likes of Buffering, Snitzerland and Bel Sprinter.

“He has done all that he can do and beaten what he has been up against.

“We are very happy with the way that he has been going and he will definitely give them something to chase.

“This is his chance to step-up and say that he is good enough and, if he is good enough, he will be right there.”

Whittington is currently available at 2014 Challenge Stakes odds of $14; with Buffering ($2.90) still a narrow favourite from Snitzerland ($3.10) and market mover Sessions ($5).

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