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Albany horseman Paul Hunter is chasing an upset win in Saturday’s 2017 Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot Racecourse with his roughie hope Dream Lifter coming off a nice first-up run.
The longest priced of the 12 sprinters in the mix for the Group 1 $1 million Crown Perth Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) this summer, Danehill Express eight-year-old Dream Lifter currently pays $51 for the win.
It is a firming price in Winterbottom Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au after the consistent W.A. galloper opened at $81.
Seven of the previous 11 Ascot runs from Dream Lifter have resulted in a top three finish including first-up on November 4 when he ran a half-length third behind Dainty Tess (1st) and Profit Street (2nd) in the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1000m).
Winning mare in that race Dainty Tess went on to finish under a length back fifth to State Solicitor in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) and she pays $17 in the Winterbottom Stakes betting markets for Saturday’s rematch.
The Grant & Alana Williams-trained Colonel Reeves Stakes champ State Solicitor is the well-supported favourite in the Winterbottom paying $3.20 to make it four wins on the trot.
Profit Street also backed-up from his Prince Of Wales Stakes placing to run a quarter length back for fourth in the Colonel Reeves, the Peter & Matthew Giadresco-trained Viscount six-year-old at $20 for the Group 1.
Dream Lifter meanwhile has been kept fresh for his Group 1 debut, Hunter bringing his galloper on fitness-wise for the test with gallop last Friday and subsequent sand course workout at Percy Spencer Racecourse on Wednesday.
Drawn a treat in barrier three in the Winterbottom Stakes field with Hunter’s nephew Mitchell Pateman retaining the ride, Dream Lifter is out to atone for missing the summer sprint feature last season.
Hunter had scheduled a Winterbottom Stakes run 12 months ago with the horse but had the shelve plans with Dream Lifter suffering ongoing foot issues.
The injury-plagued sprinter is back in good order this Perth Summer Racing Carnival however and gets his chance to prove he is up to the class.
“There are not many Group 1s around and it’s taken us a few years to get him here,” Hunter told The West Australian.
“It’s a pretty big task but we feel he is ready.
“He’s in pretty good order, his first-up run was good and the extra distance will suit.
“We were happy to go there. It’s a bit of a shy at the stumps but he’s in a really good space right now.”
Dream Lifter is Hunter’s first Group 1 runner as a trainer, while Pateman hopes to reward his uncle with a top three finish in the Winterbottom Stakes results in his fourth elite level ride.
“It’s great to be on a live Group 1 chance and hopefully we can get into a lovely spot in running from the good gate,” Pateman said.
“He very rarely runs a bad race, so if he gets a soft run, I can see him being in the finish.”
Check out all the Winterbottom Stakes 2017 odds online this weekend through Ladbrokes.com.au.
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