A top three finish in the 2011 Winterbottom Stakes results at Ascot on Saturday will see popular local galloper Grand Nirvana become a million dollar earner, and trainer Fred Kersley holds high hopes that they can go all the way and win the lucrative sprint.
The second of two elite levels running at Ascot for “Super Saturday” along with the $1 million Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m), the $500,000 Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) is set to jump as Ascot Race 9 at 4:25pm (local time).
First prize for the Winterbottom Stakes winner is a very attractive $300,000, but the $100,000 second prize or even $45,000 for running third will be enough to push Scenic six-year-old Grand Nirvana to the magic million.
To date they have won nine and placed in 10 of their 33 career starts for $973,850 in prize money.
Their latest turf triumph was in the Group 3 Belmont Sprint (1400m) back in June, in fact all but two of Grand Nirvana’s victories have been at Belmont Park.
Just how much Grand Nirvana likes it at Ascot is questionable looking at their record of 22 starts for two wins and eight minor placings at Perth’s ultimate racing venue.
It has been three years since Grand Nirvana won at Ascot when they took out the 2008 Fairetha Stakes.
Still, the punters haven’t shied away from them in the Winterbottom Stakes markets.
With visiting mare and 2009 hero Ortensia the clear-cut favourite paying $2.20 through Luxbet and fellow interstate raider, the Peter Snowden-trained Rarefied the next best-backed runner at $5, Grand Nirvana occupies the third line of Winterbottom Stakes betting at a quote of $7.
They have drawn double-digits in barrier 10 but have been impressive in their two first-up runs this season finishing a nose away second to Waratah’s Secret in the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m) on October 22 before their last-start second to Railway Stakes favourite Ranger in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes (1400m) on November 5.
For the Winterbottom they will partner with top jockey Peter Hall for the third time on the trot, replacing the injured Daniel Staeck, Hall affectionately known in WA as the “Cups King” having accumulated an impressive record of over 30 Cup victories around the state.
Hall has ridden a number of horses for Kersley over his career, but a win in the Winterbottom tomorrow would be his first victory for the decorated horseman.
“I am very happy to be riding for Fred,” Hall said.
“Being a heavyweight and with Grand Nirvana carrying big weights and Daniel (Staeck) being out, I guess I got the call.
“I think I have had two rides for Fred on Grand Nirvana and Spirit Lady.
“It has been a burning ambition of mine for many years to win a race for Fred and I would love for it to be this one.”
See below for the latest 2011 Winterbottom Stakes odds punters can lock in right now at Luxbet.
Ascot Race 9 Odds: Burswood Winterbottom Stakes – 1200m
|No.||Horse (Barrier)||Opening Odds||Current Odds|
|1||GRAND NIRVANA (10)||8.00||7.00 Luxbet|
|2||HADABECLORKA (9)||41.00||34.00 Luxbet|
|3||ELLIOTTO (1)||81.00||51.00 Luxbet|
|4||WERD (6)||26.00||19.00 Luxbet|
|5||KID CHOISIR (13)||9.00||9.00 Luxbet|
|6||EGOS DARE (5)||31.00||31.00 Luxbet|
|7||RAREFIED (7)||6.50||5.00 Luxbet|
|8||THE ENTOURAGE (11)||–||–|
|9||ELUSIVE TOUCH (14)||21.00||21.00 Luxbet|
|10||MORANT (4)||26.00||21.00 Luxbet|
|11||ORTENSIA (2)||2.20||2.20 Luxbet|
|12||FOR YOUR EYES ONLY (8)||51.00||41.00 Luxbet|
|13||ALL FRIARED UP (12)||–||–|
|14||AVANTE (3)||21.00||21.00 Luxbet|
*Fixed Win Odds provided by Luxbet and subject to change