Much loved Queensland trainer Desleigh Forster...
Trekking may be the class horse and firm favourite in the 2019 Winterbottom Stakes field in Perth this weekend, but the punters are starting to come for the locally trained Stageman to upset the interstate visitor.
The Wizard of the West, Perth’s premier hoop William Pike is drawing the dollars in betting on Saturday’s Group 1 $1 million Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) with money rolling in for his mount Stageman in the weight-for-age feature.
There are 15 gallopers in the Winterbottom Stakes this Perth Summer Racing Carnival, the Adam Durrant-trained Stageman due to jump from a wide barrier 10 draw.
The Written Tycoon five-year-old chases his first win since mid-September and is after atonement following a last start sixth to Flirtini in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) at the track on November 16.
Pike continues his association on the bay having ridden Stageman for his last three runs, the ace jockey fresh off his third Railway Stakes victory aboard Regal Power last Saturday.
The rider has also been aboard two recent Winterbottom Stakes winners taking out the event on Ellicorsam (2004) and Hadabeclorka (2010) before the race was elevated to a Group 1 race in 2011.
Stageman has an excellent 1200m record (6:3-2-0) and should relish getting back out over the six furlongs for the first time since late September.
His only other 1200m run at the Ascot track produced a win in October of 2018 and Saturday marks the gelding’s first Group 1 test.
Stageman may be the Winterbottom Stakes betting market mover, but the hot favourite remains the James Cummings-trained Godolphin galloper Trekking.
Drawn a treat in gate four with Kerrin McEvoy aboard, Trekking has firmed in from $2.80 to $2.50 through Ladbrokes.com.au to post his first win since Caulfield’s Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m) on October 12.
Since then the gun son of Street Cry has run top three in two outstanding races when third to Yes Yes Yes in the $14 million The Everest (1200m) and second to Pierata in the $1 million Redzel Stakes (1300m) in Sydney.
Simon Miller’s Prince Of Wales Stakes – Colonel Reeves double winning mare Flirtini ($7) and the Daniel & Ben Pearce-trained Ascot track specialist Vital Silver ($8.50) round out the single figure hopes in the Winterbottom Stakes odds.
This year’s Melbourne Cup winning hoop Craig Williams meanwhile makes the trip over to WA for a ride aboard the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Dubious.
The Not A Single Doubt colt gets in on 53.5kg against the older horses and is drawn well in barrier five having his first run sine the midfield sixth to Anaheed in the Group 3 Blue Sapphire Stakes (1200m) in mid-October.
The Winterbottom will be Williams’ first ride on Dubious, but he is hopeful of adding to his success aboard three-year-olds for the stable this season following his Group 1 Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on the filly Loving Gaby on Cox Plate eve.
“If the right horse comes around, they’re still Group 1 races worth one million dollars so it’s definitely worth us making the trip over there,” Williams told AAP.
“I’ve worked with Dubious before on the track and been his opposition multiple times.
“The stable always say how straightforward and professional he is.
“The barrier looks good and he hasn’t had a long spring that some others may have had.
“He fits the criteria well and I think he’s drawn nicely to get every opportunity.”
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