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The Winterbottom Stakes is Western Australia's premier sprint race, as well as the last Group One sprint of the calendar year. Contested over 1,200 metres at Perth's flagship Ascot racecourse, the Winterbottom takes place on the middle weekend of the Perth summer carnival, between the Railway Stakes and Kingston Town Classic.
Because there is a whopping one million dollars up for grabs, speedy spring carnival sprinters often make the journey west to take on WA's fastest horses. However, unlike the Railway Stakes where local horses have had the wood over the interstate raiders of late, it is the invaders who have had more success in recent editions.
Even though the Winterbottom was first run in back 1952, it has only held Group One listing since 2011. And with the recent prize money increase to seven figures, the Winterbottom is a race that is continuing to grow in stature each season.
With a long run down the back straight before runners hit the turn into the home straight, the Winterbottom is always an even race where barriers play a limited role. This is especially pleasing to horses that come over after unlucky runs in races like the Manikato at Moonee Valley.
You can typically tell the quality of a race by the names of some of the past winners. With Buffering, Takeover Target and Miss Andretti all having triumphed in the Winterbottom, you know it is a high class race.
In last year's edition, it was popular South Australian horse Viddora who claimed the victory. Viddora slashed down the centre of the track, making her competitors look like B-grade sprinters.
Place-getters Fuhryk and Durendal were beaten by 1.5 and 2 lengths respectively in what was a super-impressive victory from the Lloyd Kennewell-trained mare.