The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Trekking remains the short-priced favourite but there is money coming in 2020 Winterbottom Stakes betting for a local win by the in-form Celebrity Queen who is on the move in the markets on Saturday’s elite level sprint in WA.
The Perth Summer Racing Carnival continues at Ascot Racecourse this weekend with the actioned headlined by the Group 1 $1 million Winterbottom Stakes (1200m).
A talented line-up of sprinters is led in betting by last year’s beaten favourite, the Godolphin-raced Trekking, who is at an easing but still very short price of $2.35 to win in the latest Winterbottom Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
James Cummings’ multiple Group 1 champ hasn’t raced since a Group 1 Manikato Stakes second at The Valley on Cox Plate Eve and jumps from barrier 11 this weekend with the flying William Pike in the saddle.
Pike travelled to Melbourne over the spring and dominated in his interstate bid before returning home to snare the Group 1 Railway Stakes on Inspirational Girl in the ideal welcome home.
Regular rider for prolific WA owner-breeder Bob Peters, Pike has opted to take on the locals in the race on Saturday and is happy with his decision to don the Royal Blue for Godolphin aboard Trekking.
“I thought Trekking was the right horse to be on and I without a doubt maintain that,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I think Bob’s horses (Celebrity Queen and Stageman) have come up second and third favourites, so they’re obviously my main rivals. I’m happy with the decision but it was definitely an interesting call to make.
“It’s very rare I get off a Peters’ horse, especially in a Group 1. I think his horses find an extra length when I’m off them so hopefully that’s not the case on Saturday.
“The big factor for me was the weight-for-age. As far as their own ratings go, they probably fare a lot better under a rating system.
“You get a seasoned horse like Trekking in his territory at weight-for-age, it makes it a lot harder for those horses to match motors with him.”
The danger according to the punters comes from Trekking’s inside with Celebrity Queen in barrier 10 and looking for her third win from four runs this campaign.
Prepared by master father-daughter training duo Grant & Alana Williams of Arcadia Queen and Regal Power fame, the ultra-consistent Redoute’s Choice mare has finished worse than second just twice in her 10 career starts.
She became a six-time winner and three-time Ascot champ last time out when narrowly defeating Stageman (2nd) and Indian Pacific (3rd) in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) run in the wet on November 14.
The gun four-year-old is proven at 1200m (7:4-1-0) and she has been well backed in from $9.50 to $8 to measure up in the Group 1 on Saturday.
The only other single-figure hopeful is the Colonel Reeves third-placed Indian Pacific ($7.50) drawn ideally in barrier four with Brad Parnham retaining the ride on the consistent Zoustar four-year-old.
As for Stageman, the Adam Durrant-trained Written Tycoon six-year-old is on the drift out to $11 to turn the tables on Celebrity Queen and defeat the gun interstate visitor on the weekend.
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