After three tight finishes at racing’s elite level this year, South Australian mare Viddora and her Perth-born trainer Lloyd Kennewell have broken through to score their first Group One triumph in the $1 million Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
The five-year-old claimed a deserved win after running second in the Sangster Stakes (1200m) on home soil in Adelaide before travelling to Melbourne and finishing runner up in the Moir Stakes (100m) and fourth in the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley.
“It means a little bit more to me because I was actually born here in Perth,” said Kennewell.
“It was the best feeling and 200 out it was all over.
“She is a really good mare who has been in good races and been unlucky.
“It’s the best feeling in the world to get that off my back.
“We knew it was going to happen and it was a matter of time.
“Hopefully it’s the leg up I need and opens the door to more avenues.”
Adelaide jockey Joe Bowditch gave Viddora a perfect run, sitting on the fence before pushing clear at the top of the straight.
The daughter of I Am Invincible raced to the lead passing the 200m and dashed clear, putting 1 ¼ lengths on runner-up Fuhryk.
The runner-up ran a bold race for Damien Oliver, making up a stack of ground on the inside after getting off to a slow start from the gates.
Durendal, one of two runners for Chris Gangemi, ran third, beaten two lengths. Stable mate and favourite, Rock Magic finished fourth.
Rock Magic, racing first up from a Melbourne spring campaign, returned lame and with an elevated heart rate.
State Solicitor didn’t enjoy the best of runs, but lacked his usual brilliance from the back of the field, finishing eighth.
Joe Bowditch said Viddora, who improved her record to seven wins from 23 starts and boosted prize money to $1.5 million, deserved her win.
“I was always confident,” Bowditch said.
“I came over on Monday and she kept on improving.
“I knew we had the right horse.”