2016 Winterbottom Stakes Aim for First Among Equals

Perth horseman Simon Miller is looking at a possible trip to Melbourne for his weekend winner First Among Equals whose other major target this season could be the summer’s Winterbottom Stakes 2016 at home.

Buffering

First Among Equals could target the Winterbottom Stakes that was won last summer by Buffering (pictured) for a second time in three years. Photo: Daniel Costello.

A five-year-old son of Exceed And Excel, First Among Equals posted his ninth win at career start number 19 over the weekend at Belmont Racecourse in WA.

Having his maiden start since a third behind Young Lionel in the Listed Bunbury Stakes (1400m) back in March, First Among Equals continued his nice record fresh with a quarter-length victory in the Listed H.G. Bolton Stakes (1200m).

Overcoming barrier 12 of 12 with Paul Harvey in the saddle, the winning gelding held the narrow margin over Rock Magic ($6.50) while the Darren McAuliffe-trained Rebel King ($17) added value to this winter’s HG Bolton Stakes trifecta in third a further two lengths back.

Miller is now considering a trip east with First Among Equals who could shape-up as a nice hope during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.

“Today’s performance confirmed he could be competitive in good Melbourne company,” Miller told The West Australian post-win on Saturday.

“First Among Equals will tackle the Belmont Newmarket in two weeks.

“A decision will then be made on whether he goes east, or we freshen him and then aim for the Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot’s carnival later this year.”

Run at Ascot Racecourse on November 19, the $1 million Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) is one of three elite level races held during the Perth Summer Festival of Racing.

Miller won the 1994 Winterbottom Stakes during his years in the saddle riding Petite Amour to victory over 20 years ago.

He chases his first win as a trainer in the sprint classic this summer however having saddled-up four previous Winterbottom Stakes starters for just the one second place finish.

“If we take the Victorian option, he’ll fly out with Whispering Brook,” Miller added.

The stable’s smart Hinchinbrook filly Whispering Brook is a nicely-bred three-year-old who has won all five of her career starts to date.

She is a four-time stakes winner including success in the Group 2 Karrakatta Plate (1200m) and Group 3 W.A. Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) as a two-year-old back in April.

Miller is setting the filly for a Group 1 Melbourne raid this coming spring.

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