The second-last Group 1 race of the year will be run and won at Ascot on Saturday as a capacity field of sprinters step out over the 1200m to contest the Winterbottom Stakes.
After timing his run to perfection last week aboard Inspirational Girl, William Pike looks to have another chance to claim the prize-money when he boards Godolphin’s short-priced favourite Trekking.
Champion trainer Neville Parnham also looks to have a shot at an upset with the fast-finishing Indian Pacific, while the on fire Grant and Alana Williams team might just add another Group 1 to their resume with Celebrity Queen.
If you’re looking to have a bet, you can find our analysis on each and every runner in our 2020 Winterbottom Stakes Preview below!
Trekking maps as the horse to beat coming off a freshen up.
The Godolphin sprinter has turned in three highly competitive efforts this time in work, beginning with a runner-up to Pippie in the Group 1 Moir Stakes, a fourth in The Everest to Classique Legend, and a narrow last start second to Hey Doc in the Manikato Stakes.
He’s done some of his best work with a trial between runs and he could not have looked any better during Monday’s hit-out under William Pike.
Pike has won this race twice in the past and with a firm track expected, the pair should take a power of beating if he can offset the wide gate nice and early.
It’s been a while in between drinks for Rock Magic since he won the Group 3 Northam Stakes last May.
The 11-year-old son of Redoute’s Choice has to be respected with two wins to his name over the track and distance though, while he’s almost certain to improve on his last start fifth in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves on a Heavy 9.
The wet track really didn’t suit him that day, so this does look a much more winnable race for the old boy with the blinkers going on.
He’s drawn to get a lovely run from barrier 2 and there is plenty to suggest he can sneak a place with four wins to his name at Ascot.
Malibu Style has struggled in both her runs since venturing over to Ascot to begin her prep.
The son of Magnus was no match first-up in the Group 3 Prince of Wales Stakes behind Valour Road and didn’t find things any easier a fortnight later when 11 of 13 in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes.
He has placed previously third-up, but would still need to improve significantly to be any real factor in a race like this.
Valour Road gets back out to his preferred distance where he’s won four times previously.
Simon Miller’s five-year-old kicked home to win the Group 3 Prince of Wales Stakes only narrowly two runs back before finding things a little tougher on the wet track in the Colonel Reeves.
Valour Road finished fifth in the Winterbottom two years ago, and after having to overcome the wide draw in his last two runs, he does look a nice each-way chance from a much kinder draw.
It’s been two years in between wins for Durendal since he last won the Colonel Reeves on the way to a disappointing ninth in the Winterbottom back in 2018.
The nine-year-old has won only one of his 22 starts on his home track, and based on his three efforts this time in work, he’d need to produce something very special to be any kind of threat.
Vital Silver doesn’t win out of turn, but he does appear to be building towards another win after running on for fifth in the Group 3 Northerly Stakes last month.
The nine-year-old finished second to Hey Doc in this same race last year, while he was far from disgraced when seventh to Loving Gaby over the same trip in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes at Moonee Valley during the Autumn.
He has been racing among easier company this time in, but could be worth a look each-way based on how well he typically races when fresh.
Red Can Man
Red Can Man was far from disgraced in his Group 1 debut last week finishing fourth to Inspirational Girl in the Railway Stakes.
Steven Wolfe’s four-year-old tracked the speed beautifully on the inside before Shaun McGruddy unleashed with a big run rounding the final turn.
There was no shame in losing out to Inspirational Girl and Too Close the Sun, but Red Can Man will need to produce a similar performance on the short backup carrying 5kg’s extra.
The step back to the 1200m from the mile does look a nice option though, and the fact McGruddy has retained the ride is another big tick.
Stageman returned to the races with a narrow win at Belmont in the Listed Black Heart Bart Stakes and has since gone on to find the money in two of his last three runs.
The son of Written Tycoon was unlucky not to score last start when second to Celebrity Queen in the Colonel Reeves Stakes, but there was plenty to like about the way he finished after making up a stack of ground out wide on the heavy track.
Adam Durant’s six-year-old had no luck in this race last year under William Pike finishing ninth, but with race fitness and consistency on his side, there’s no doubt he’s building towards another win.
Laverrod won a Benchmark 78 over the track and distance second-up, but has struggled to go on with it rising through the grades.
He was hardly a factor two runs back in the Group 2 Lee Steere Stakes, although he did show some improvement last Saturday when third in the Listed Carbine Club.
The four-year-old won that same BM78 race on the short backup, but as the market suggests, there’s no getting around the fact this is a much tougher assignment.
Mankind looked to be a horse going places during the Autumn, but he’s since struggled to replicate that same form since returning to work.
His first and second-up efforts left a lot to be desired, and from the wide gate, he won’t find this any easier.
Indian Pacific looks to be the main danger to Trekking’s chances.
The son of Zoustar stormed home to win the Listed Crawford Stakes first-up before an equally impressive performance saw him finish third in the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes.
Plenty of people have a high opinion of this horse and it’s not hard to see why.
The four-year-old has won six of his nine starts to date and there is no doubt he possesses the turn of foot to win a race of this quality.
With the winkers on for the first time, Brad Parnham should have plenty to work with from barrier 4 as the pair look to add a Group 1 to their resume.
Elite Street is shooting for a hat-trick after winning back-to-back Benchmark 78’s at this same venue.
The son of Street Boss is clearly a promising young sprinter for the Daniel Morton yard, but this does look a big ask for the four-year-old stepping up to Group level for the first time from the wide draw.
After flashing some real promise during the Autumn, Flirtini continues to turn in frustrating performances.
Simon Miller’s mare gave no real sight when 10 of 13 first-up in the Colonel Reeves, although on the plus side, she did run fifth in last year’s Winterbottom behind Hey Doc.
The five-year-old won over this track and distance earlier in her career, but even with a decent second-up record, she’d still need to produce something special to overcome the widest gate in the field.
Essential Spice has been thereabouts over the last two months finishing no worse than fifth in three runs.
The five-year-old was unlucky to finish second in the Group 3 Prince of Wales Stakes behind Valour Road, but does appear tested here after drawing the carpark.
She’s only proven over the 1000m and is tough to have in what is her toughest assignment to date.
If a mare is going to win this race, it’s probably going to be Celebrity Queen, who has so far won six of her ten starts to date.
The daughter of Redoute’s Choice flew home down the outside last start to win the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes right on the line as she now hopes to become just the third horse to complete the Colonel Reeves – Winterbottom double.
Chris Parnham does have some work to do from barrier 10, but considering the form the Grant and Alana Williams team are in right now, you’d be crazy not to include this girl in your numbers.
Condor Heroes struggled at this level last start and would need some luck to go his way as the first and only emergency.