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Winterbottom Stakes

The Winterbottom Stakes is run at Ascot Racecourse, Perth on the same day as the prestigious Railway Stakes. It is a Group 1 sprint over 1,200 metres and is a weight for age race. This year’s race is on November 19th and carries prize money of $500,000.

Race History

Originally run in 1952, when it was won by Raconteur, the distance was 1,400 metres. It was shortened to the present 1,200 metres in 1993. At first, it was a Principal Race, but gained Group 1 status in 2011.  It was won in 2011 by Ortensia, who also won the race in 2009.

The Winterbottom Stakes is a good race in which to bet on the favourite, no fewer than seven of the last ten races being won by the shortest odds horse. Furthermore, in the last ten years, only one favourite has failed to place.

Lead up races

Good lead up races for the Winterbottom Stakes are the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes run over 1,400 metres, and the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes which is over 1,200 metres. Horses that perform well in the race may go on to enter the A. J. Scahill Stakes in December. Another prime target for horses in the Winterbottom Stakes is the Kingston Town Classic run two weeks later.

Many of the contenders are local horses, and tend to do well in the Perth summer heat since they are accustomed to it. However, there are usually a few horses that have performed well in the Melbourne Cup Carnival and the Sydney Spring Carnival.

The barrier draw has a large bearing on the chances of the entries. In the last 30 years, only eight winners have started from barrier 10 or wider, while over the same time span 16 winners have started from barrier 5 or inside. Add to that the number of favourites winning the race, and if you have a favourite starting inside that would be a very good place to put your money.

WA Turf Club

The Western Australia Turf club, now called Perth Racing, has been in charge of racing in the state for over 150 years.  It runs both Ascot and Belmont Park racecourses situated by the riverside. Both only a few minutes from Perth city centre. Some of the famous horses that have graduated from Ascot include Northerly, Miss Andretti, Scenic Blast, Hay List, Placid Ark, and Rogan Josh.

Ascot has several food outlets including the Flying Colours restaurant for fine dining, featuring the best of seasonal West Australian produce, and the Terrace Buffet which offers a three course buffet style luncheon. Both have fine views over the course itself.

The Winterbottom Stakes is noted for having two trainers with very good records, notably R. S. Taylor with two wins from four starts, and D. A, Hayes, with two wins from five starts. Top jockeys are M. Sestich with two wins from 14 starts, and J. Brown with two wins from 17 rides.

One interesting statistic is that in the last six years, two winners of the Winterbottom Stakes have switched back from the Railway Stakes at 1,600 metres to win at 1,200 metres. Neither horse was placed in the Railway Stakes, Glory Hunter coming fourth, and Ortensia sixth.