First Among Equals specked at long odds for Winterbottom Stakes

Local sprinter First Among Equals has been specked at double figure odds in the lead up to the Group 1 $1m Crown Perth-Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot in Perth on Saturday.

Malaguerra, above, heads the market order for the Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot. Photo by Steve Hart.

Malaguerra, above, heads the market order for the Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot. Photo by Steve Hart.

The Simon Miller trained First Among Equals looks to have ordinary form heading into a weight for age Group 1 sprint but his loyal supporters have shortened his price up from $21 to $17 with Ladbrokes.com.au.

The form guide shows the Exceed And Excel five year old finishing tenth of eleven to Rock Magic in the Group 3 $150,000 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1000m) at Ascot in Perth on October 29 followed by a seventh to Vega Magic in the Group 3 $150,000 Colonel Reeves Stakes (11000m) at Ascot in Perth on November 12 but Miller said the he was very unlucky in both outings.

“He’s been awfully unlucky in his two runs in this time,” Miller told Racing Ahead.

“He’s done more work on the Tuesday leading into them.

“First up he ran second last with the handbrake on all the way up the straight, just couldn’t get out and then last start was bolting, no runs outside so we ducked back to the inside and got held up.

“He’s flying the horse, I just really needed to draw middle-to-outside and we’ve drawn nine, so it’s deal.

“His work on Tuesday was up to his high standards and to get a good gauge on the locals – Rock Magic is about third-favourite and my horse last winter had that horse covered every time they met.

“I’ve got some good horses but I think he’s my best. I’ve got full respect for the eastern raiders; I watched Malaguerra work on Tuesday morning and it was quality, but I reckon my boy is flying and he’s one of the better chances of the locals.”

Brad Parnham takes over from Paul Harvey on First Among Equals and Miller is not concerned about the gelding drawing barrier nine in the twelve horse Winterbottom Stakes field.

“He’ll be midfield or worse. His asset is his turn of foot, which is electric, so as long as he gets clear galloping room, he’ll get every chance to swoop over the top,” Miller said.

Last start Group 1 Darley Classic winner Malaguerra sits at the top of the Winterbottom Stakes market order at $3.30 with Ladbrokes.com.au just ahead of the Joe Pride trained Terravista at $3.50.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.