This Saturday Sydney’s leading lady of racing Gai Waterhouse, back from her latest holiday in Europe last week, will saddle-up a trio of gallopers in the weekend’s feature race – the 2013 Winter Stakes at Rosehill Gardens.
In a race that drew a full field of 12 starters plus an emergency in wait, Waterhouse has accepted for three horses in the $100,000 Listed Winter Stakes (1440m) which is due to run as Race 6 at 3:20pm (AEST) at the meeting.
The shortest-priced of her Winter Stakes hopes is the current race favourite Under The Sun paying $4 at bookmaker.com.au to win their first black type trophy.
The four-year-old No Excuse Needed gelding has been in excellent form over the past couple of months including a win over the 1400m at Randwick on June 8 after jumping from barrier 14 of 14.
Last start they also put in a gun run when a length away second to Mic Mac in the Listed Civic Stakes (1350m) at Rosehill on July 6 which was just their second ever black type assignment.
The bookies believe that they will turn the tables on Paul Messara’s veteran top-weight Mic Mac (60.5kg), who is still a chance of being withdrawn from the event, with Under The Sun’s nice 54.5kg weight and ideal barrier two draw.
Under The Sun will then be joined in the Winter Stakes field by their stablemates Kontiki Park who is equal at $11 with See The World and $31 roughie Kinnersley.
Drawn in gate seven with Hugh Bowman to ride, Thorn Park seven-year-old Kontiki Park comes off a good fourth over the 1500m here from July 1 in the Natski Handicap which was run on a Heavy (9) track.
Rosehill is currently a Slow (7) with the chance of being downgraded into the Heavy range before the weekend, and Kontiki’s decent record on rain affected tracks works in their favour.
Also in their corner is the drop back from 60kg which they had in the Natski to 57.5kg on Saturday.
Kinnersley meanwhile will carry 58kg from gate four with Kathy O’Hara booked for the ride.
The Al Maher six-year-old is second-up for the season after a horror effort in the Natski where they finished 14 lengths away 13th to the winner Merlin Mustang failing to beat home any of their rivals.
However Waterhouse warns not to write them off completely believing that if they get a firmer track and a bit of luck they could be a real surprise.
“They’re both going super,” Waterhouse said of her more experienced two in the Winter Stakes.
“Star Thoroughbred’s Kinnersley is evergreen. He just needs this sort of weather and a drier track to be competitive.
“And I don’t think there is an older horse going better than Kontiki Park.
“It looks a super race for him.”
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