AJ Scahill Stakes 2013 Distance Test for Watermans Bay

After a stellar effort running third in the Winterbottom Stakes last start, the Peter & Matthew Giadresco-trained Watermans Bay will be stepped up in distance for a shot at the 2013 AJ Scahill Stakes this Saturday.

The $125,000 Group 3 A.J. Scahill Stakes (1400m) is one of the key Kingston Town Classic Day support races at Ascot Racecourse on the weekend, and has drawn a decent final field of nine hopefuls.

One of the top fancies dropping back in class for this is Eternity Range gelding Watermans Bay.

The five-year-old hasn’t won a race since the Listed Cyril Flower Stakes (1200m) back in February, but this time in they’ve been performing well in the Festival of Perth Racing sprint features.

Two back they were third to The Rising in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) in a brave run where they were blocked in the straight.

On November 23 they had their latest start and really caught the eye when a length and a half away third behind Queensland champion Buffering (1st) and the Peter Moody-trained Melbourne visitor Moment Of Change in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).

Having been checked near the 600m mark, Watermans Bay did well to recover and finish as close as they did behind the two Group 1 winning interstate raiders after working their way from the back of the field to run top three as a $41 outsider.

“It was a slashing run behind Buffering,” co-trainer Peter Giadresco told The West Australian.

Now they go back to Group 3 company but up to 1400m for the AJ Scahill Stakes.

While they’ve certainly got the class there is still a query over the distance.

Their last go at the 1400m saw Watermans Bay finish ninth behind Pin Rouge in the Listed Bunbury Stakes (1400m).

There, like in so many of their races, they were hampered by a wider gate (9) and were blocked for a run.

On Saturday connections then are hoping that for the first time in a while the race plays out in Watermans Bay’s favour.

The honest galloper has the right draw this time, jumping from barrier four with their Winterbottom Stakes jockey Glenn Smith retaining the ride, and with the right luck can win this weight-for-age event.

“I know he’s never won over 1400, but he’s had some excuses,” his handler said.

“I don’t think it’s a problem. The horse is cherry ripe.

“It looks a pretty good race for him and he’s got to have a good chance.”

Among their rivals on Saturday is the reigning AJ Scahill Stakes winner Power Princess in the far outside gate.

The Simon Miller-trained Marwina mare got the better of Watermans Bay when she ran second behind Barakey in the Group 3 Prince of Wales Stakes (1200m) in October, a race Watermans Bay ran a first-up fifth in.

The seven-year-old though couldn’t match them in the Winterbottom, Power Princess running sixth from her double digit gate (11).

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