Godolphin Racing Manager Jason Walsh has revealed that he would like to see Sidestep settled closer to the speed in the 2014 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot tomorrow.
Outside of his run in the 2013 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m), Sidestep has generally been settled towards the tail of the field in the majority of his race starts before working over the top of his rivals, but Walsh told Racing Ahead this morning that he hopes the reapplication of blinkers will help the Exceed And Excel entire settle closer to the speed in the Winterbottom Stakes and give the four-year-old the best possible chance to record a maiden win at the highest level of racing.
“On paper there does not look to be a great deal of speed engaged, albeit it is a Group 1 race and obviously we have drawn a good gate there in two,” Walsh said.
“If we can bounce out with blinkers on for the first time in a while and settle that pair or two closer and not too far away from the leading chances, which we expect to be forward as well in Angelic Light and Moment Of Change.
“That will hopefully give us our chance.
“We have sent him over there because we think that he is a genuine top three chance and on paper the strength in the race is in the Eastern starters.
“On his day he is certainly capable of getting away with a Group 1 in a race of this nature.”
The lengthy journey to Perth can be testing for young horses that are making their first trip to Western Australia, but Walsh said that Sidestep had no problems handling the flight and had settled in well to his new environment ahead of the Winterbottom Stakes, while he believes the Golden Slipper runner-up has taken no harm from his credible eighth in the Group 1 Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on November 8.
“He has settled in really well over there and he is very relaxed,” Walsh said.
“It is like he has been there plenty of times before and we are sure that he will present to run to his best again tomorrow.
“He didn’t get let off the bridle too much, he didn’t have a lot of luck in the straight, and it was a reasonably soft run.
“He has bounced back very well since and we could not be more pleased with him.”
Sidestep is currently available at 2014 Winterbottom Stakes odds of $7 and is on the third line of betting behind Angelic Light ($3) and Moment Of Change ($4.40).