Watermans Bay has been backed into 2015 Winterbottom Stakes odds of $7.50 and trainer Daniel Morton is confident that the talented sprinter will be suited by the hot speed in the early stages of the Group 1 event at Ascot on Saturday.
Watermans Bay finished his autumn campaign with a strong win in the Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m) at Caulfield on April 4 and he showed that he was ready for the Winterbottom Stakes when he finished a close second behind Rock Magic in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) at Ascot on November 3.
The Eternity Range gelding was allocated barrier 11 at the Winterbottom Stakes barrier draw earlier this week, but Morton told Sky Racing HQ that could suit the seven-year-old and he is hopeful his star sprinter will get the last crack at them in the $1 million race.
“He is back where we need him,” Morton said.
“It was a good run first-up and he has tightened up a little bit from the run.
“He will be competitive.
“It is probably not the worst gate for him to be honest.
“It looks like there is good speed inside and if he can slide in somewhere midfieldish or a bit further back, he tends to wind up from a long way out.
“If he can nab some clear running he should be able to get home good.
“We have had him out to 1400 metres and he has won a couple of times for us, so he can wind up and sustain a good 700 or 800 metre run.
“The horse is fit and well and we are looking forward to the race.
Jockey Steven Arnold rode Watermans Bay when he finished second behind Magnifisio in the Winterbottom Stakes last year and he has been booked to take the ride on the veteran sprinter in the 2015 edition of the race.
Morton believes that Arnold knows exactly how he needs to ride Watermans Bay and he is delighted to have acquired the services of the Cox Plate winning hoop once again.
“Steven won on him in Melbourne for us and he just got narrowly beaten by him in the Winterbottom last year,” Morton said.
“He has a good understanding of the horse and hopefully that is a nice fit for us again.”
Watermans Bay is currently available at 2015 Winterbottom Stakes odds of $7.50 with Ladbrokes and he is on the third line of betting behind Buffering ($4) and Fast ‘N’ Rocking ($5.50).