Sidestep is set to contest the 2014 Winterbottom Stakes and Godolphin are happy with the condition of the talented sprinter heading into the Group 1 event at Ascot on Saturday.
Sidestep finished his 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign with tough wins in both the Listed Darby Munro Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29 and the Group 2 Royal Sovereign Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 19, but a couple of minor setbacks kept the Exceed And Excel entire away from racing until the end of the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival.
The four-year-old made his return to racing in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8, but was never able to find clear running in the final stages and could finish no better than eighth – four lengths behind Terravista.
Godolpin Racing Manager Jason Walsh said that Sidestep never had a chance to show what he was capable of in the Darley Classic, but he told Perth Racing today that the Golden Slipper runner-up had come through the race well and is in excellent condition heading into the 2014 Winterbottom Stakes this weekend after impressing during trackwork at Breakfast With The Starts yesterday morning.
“It was a really strong piece of work, he worked over 1000 metres and he had a good blow afterwards so he needed it,” Walsh said.
“Obviously the eleven hour trip is a bit to contend with, but he has handled that particularly well.
“Unfortunately he didn’t get a chance to get let off the bridle (in the Darley Classic), but he’s in great order.”
Sidestep will be having his sixth race start at the highest level of racing, but is still chasing a maiden Group 1 victory after finishing second behind Overreach in the 2013 edition of the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m), fourth in the 2013 Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m), sixth in the 2013 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) and outside the placings in the past two editions of the Darley Classic.
While Sidestep will be having his first race start in Perth, his jockey Nash Rawiller knows his way around the Ascot circuit and is chasing his first win in the Winterbottom Stakes after finishing third on both Spirit Of Boom in 2012 and Electric General in 2006.
Sidestep is currently available at 2014 Winterbottom Stakes odds of $6, while Angelic Light ($3) remains a clear favourite from Moment Of Change ($4.40).