Perth trainer Simon Miller will saddle up two strong chances for the locals in Saturday’s Group 1 $1m Crown Perth Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot.

Viridine, above, is one of three James Cummings trained runners to line up in the 2019 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot in Perth. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Viridine, above, is one of three James Cummings trained runners to line up in the 2019 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot in Perth. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

The Miller trained Valour Road and Flirtini are two of fifteen sprinters who make up the final field for the Group 1 feature sprint of the 2019 Ascot Racing Carnival and the Perth trainer is finding it hard to split the pair.

“I wouldn’t want to pick, happy to have both,” Miller told The Races WA.

“Both have impeccable form. One rolls forward and Flirtini can sit back, so we have both bases covered.”

“It is great. It is good to be playing in the big Group 1s that are on over here and we have two live chances.”

Flirtini goes into the Winterbottom Stakes on a hat trick after two wins at Ascot in the in the Group 3 $150,000 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1000m) on November 2 and in the Group 3 $150,000 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) a fortnight later and Miller said that the mare has come through her latest run in good order.

“Excellent. Weight was good, ate up over the weekend and she is on track,” he said.

Valour Road has had one run back from a spell for a fourth in the Prince Of Wales Stakes but has pleased Miller since with a third placing in a 950m Lark Hill barrier trial on November 18.

“I thought it was really good,” Miller said.

“He had a bunny to follow and we weren’t out there to break the clock or do anything and he went to the line under a stranglehold and through the line he was steaming past them.”

“It was a really good trial, in slick time, and he was in neutral.”

“When he got back he wasn’t blowing and his heart rate was low and he didn’t blow up over the back so I have him cherry ripe and we are right on target now and he won’t even need a hard gallop on Tuesday. We have him perfect.”

Miller is not concerned that Valour Road is going into the Winterbottom Stakes with only one lead up and said that the four year old is in peak condition.

“We have done it a few times. Last year he went from the Belgravia into the Winterbottom and he ran fifth and he is a superior horse now to what he was then,” Miller said.

“I have good handle on him and he is pretty easy to train.”

Chris Parnham will ride Valour Road again and Paul Harvey gets his chance to score a hat trick of wins on Flirtini.

Godolphin’s blue army is set to come out in force in the Winterbottom Strakes on Saturday with trainer James Cummings set to saddle up three runners, Trekking (Kerrin McEvoy), Home Of The Brave (Damian Lane) and Viridine (Damien Oliver).

Trekking was the winner of the Group 1 $1.5m Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm during the 2019 Brisbane Winter Carnival and has pretty handy Spring Carnival form that includes a third behind Yes Yes Yes and Santa Ana Lane in the $14m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on October 19.

Home Of The Brave is coming off a last start second in the Group 3 $160,000 Kevin Heffernan Stakes (1300m) at Sandown on November 16 and Viridine was a winner on the same race card in the Listed $140,000 Doveton Stakes (1000m).

Final field for the 2019 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m)

No Last 10 Horse Trainer Jockey Weight
1 41131×8132 TREKKING James Cummings Kerrin McEvoy 58.5kg
2 0x03820x7x MALAGUERRA Vaughn Sigley Troy Turner 58.5kg
3 401x7x58x3 HEY DOC Tony & Calvin McEvoy Luke Currie 58.5kg
4 451x153x49 ROCK MAGIC Chris Gangemi Jarrad Noske 58.5kg
5 4x70x52472 HOME OF THE BRAVE (IRE) James Cummings Damian Lane 58.5kg
6 419x395x60 DURENDAL Chris Gangemi Brad Parnham 58.5kg
7 04146×0401 VIRIDINE James Cummings Damien Oliver 58.5kg
8 455x1161x4 VALOUR ROAD Simon A Miller Chris Parnham 58.5kg
9 042163x10x ENDLESS DRAMA (IRE) Tony Pike Leith Innes 58.5kg
10 1213x13x42 VITAL SILVER Daniel & Ben Pearce Ben Melham 58.5kg
11 3x226x530x SPIRIT OF VALOR (USA) Ciaron Maher & David Eustace 58.5kg
12 3611212236 STAGEMAN Adam Durrant William Pike 58.5kg
13 3x1129x311 FLIRTINI Simon A Miller Paul Harvey 56.5kg
14 3212117×25 MISTY METAL Robert & Todd Harvey Shaun McGruddy 56.5kg
15 123015×426 DUBIOUS Ciaron Maher & David Eustace Craig Williams 53.5kg

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.