Winterbottom Stakes 2017: Whispering Brook Dons Blinkers

November 29, 2017

Winterbottom Stakes 2017: Whispering Brook Dons Blinkers

In a risky gear change for the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes 2017 on Saturday, local Ascot horseman Simon Miller will put the blinkers on his hopeful mare Whispering Brook.

Joseph Azzopardi jockey

Jockey Joseph Azzopardi (pictured on Crucial) rides the Simon Miller-trained mare Caipirinha from a wide barrier in Saturday’s 2017 Winterbottom Stakes field at Ascot. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia.

Well-bred Hinchinbrook four-year-old Whispering Brook is currently rated a $26 roughie at Ladbrokes.com.au to salute in this weekend’s Group 1 $1 million Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at her home track.

She comes off a November 18 sixth in a blanket finish in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m), which last produced a Winterbottom Stakes winner in 2012 when Barakey did the double.

This Perth Summer Racing Carnival the bookies are tipping the Grant & Alana Williams-trained five-year-old State Solicitor to repeat the feat after his close Colonel Reeves Stakes success.

To be ridden by Perth’s best William Pike, State Solicitor came up trumps with a favourable gate four draw in the Winterbottom Stakes barriers for 2017 and now pays $3 for the win.

Despite crossing under a length off him in the lead-up, Whispering Brook can be found much further down the Winterbottom Stakes betting markets.

Jockey Jason Brown retains the ride on her in the Group 1 and she drew last year’s winning gate, eight, which produced Takedown for his win in 2016.

In an attempt to sharpen her up and get Whispering Brook into the winners’ stall for the first time since her W.A. Sires Produce Stakes (1200m) win as a filly in April of 2016, Simon has made two notable gear changes.

On Saturday the mare will don blinkers for the first time and she also has a tongue tie going on for the lucrative short-distance feature.

Miller is hoping this combined with the fact he abandoned Railway Stakes plans to keep Whispering Brook to 1200m instead of going up to the mile will have her breaking the drought.

“It’s her grand final and I’ve never put blinkers on her, so I thought I’d have a throw at the stumps,” Miller told The West Australian on Tuesday.

“She was playing around with her tongue a fair bit behind the gates last start, so the tongue tie goes on to alleviate that risk.”

Miller will also be pleased with the eight draw having commented pre-barriers that his mare needed gate five or worse to be competitive.

“She probably needs to draw five or worse so she can build momentum when we want to,” he said.

“When she’s locked in on the inside she can’t sprint off the mark.”

Miller chases his second Winterbottom Stakes success following a 1994 win with then four-year-old mare Petite Amour.

Along with Whispering Brook he also saddles-up Caipirinha in this year’s race, the Nicconi mare suffering a blow with barrier 12.

That is now the outside gate after the early scratching of The River (13).

Caipirinha finished second best to State Solicitor in the Colonel Reeves Stakes last start and pays $17 to overcome her wide alley on Saturday to score the upset.

Miller though will be worried about the barrier having suggested the mare’s early gate speed would better suit an inside alley.

“She’s back behind the scenes too so there’s a sense of timing,” he said.

“She probably needs a gate because she’s quick off the mark.”

Check out the updated Winterbottom Stakes 2017 odds for the weekend now at Ladbrokes.com.au to back your selections at the right price this summer.

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