The Leg Up: Ascot Preview – Winterbottom Stakes Day – Saturday 27 November 2021

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Race 1 – 12:05PM TOURISM WA TROPHY (1000 METRES)

Thinking BOPPING BLUE can upset smart stablemate THE FRONT BAR in the opener. Looked like he needed the hitout against the older horses first up when leading and getting swamped, but comes forward off that and with good speed drawn outside him may end up in a lovely position stalking a hot speed. Bopping Blue has some raw talent and he did elevate to win second up last prep. The Front Bar is a real winner and her effort to gun down Acromantula two weeks back was significant. Maps rearwards again, so can she unleash similar closing speed rising to 59.5kg? HE’S GOLD was brave when three wide/no cover in the Placid Ark Stakes last week and will relish gate one, while a refreshed PIXIE CHIX could be the blowout.

Tips: 4-1-2-6
Suggested: 4. BOPPING BLUE win.

4. BOPPING BLUE
1. THE FRONT BAR
2. HE’S GOLD
6. PIXIE CHIX
7. SNIPAROOCHY

Race 2 – 12:45PM MRS MAC’S HANDICAP (1600 METRES)

THAT’S FUNNY AZ can hold up in front and prove might hard to run down. Finished third in the Hannans before a gut-buster in the Northam Cup, but trusting Dion Luciani to have him fully recovered after 34 days between runs. This fellow loves the Ascot mile and with a quick getaway, apprentice Holly Watson can fend off COCKNEY CREW to lead and her 3kg claim will he handy late. Cockney Crew was huge first up in the Peters Stakes, with Kissonallforcheeks going on to place third in the Railway Stakes. Mapped him outside leader though, so can he be as effective from that position in run? No surprise to see talented-but-fragile MONEY MAHER fire fresh, while sharp improvement is expected from DOM TO SHOOT on the quick backup in this company.

Tips: 3-2-7-5
Suggested: 3. THAT’S FUNNY AZ win.

3. THAT’S FUNNY AZ
2. COCKNEY CREW
7. MONEY MAHER
5. DOM TO SHOOT
4. UTGARD LOKI

Race 3 – 1:25PM DRUMMOND GOLF HANDICAP (1200 METRES)

Another clash between exciting 4YOs SECRET PLAN and TRIPLE MISSILE and happy to be on board with Secret Plan. Loved the way he knuckled down to chase Winterbottom Stakes fancy Wilchino last start, and with noted front-runner MERVYN engaged don’t be surprised to see Pike employ positive riding tactics from the awkward draw. Landing fourth/fifth with cover, Secret Plan will have their measure. Important to note Triple Missile is first emergency for the Winterbottom, but if he does around in this he’ll have his usual army of supporters. Will have to win from last but certainly has the closing speed to do so. RESORTMAN is no slouch either and he’s expected to compete well first up, while ALL DAY SESSION is suited back in this grade after lining up in the Colonel Reeves Stakes last start.

Tips: 9-6-4-5
Suggested: 9. SECRET PLAN win.

9. SECRET PLAN
6. TRIPLE MISSILE
4. RESORTMAN
5. ALL DAY SESSION
2. PLUTOCRACY
*Numbers amended after scratchings

Race 4 – 2:05PM TABTOUCH WESTSPEED PLATINUM SERIES FINAL (1400 METRES)

Practicing forgiveness and locking in NOWHITEFLAG on top. Created a major impression with an arrogant first-up win, before bungling the start as a $1.85 fave two weeks back, over-exerting badly in transit and blowing up late. This bloke is on a steep learning curve and there’ll be plenty looking to take him on, but confident Shaun McGruddy can get him out of the gates cleanly, find his happy place in front and run his rivals off their feet. HOLY ENCHANTMENT has some quality about him and will come forward lengths on his first-up result. Danger. STANDOUT ROSE hit the line hard again last start and is suited from this draw with Whiting back on board, while DAIS and BEAT THE BRO will have admirers also.

Tips: 2-1-12-5
Suggested: 2. NOWHITEFLAG win.

2. NOWHITEFLAG
1. HOLY ENCHANTMENT
12. DAIS
5. BEAT THE BRO
3. WILD FUSION
*Numbers amended after scratchings

Race 5 – 2:45PM CROWN TOWERS HANDICAP (1400 METRES)

GOD HAS CHOSEN to make amends. Supporters were left reeling in the final event last Saturday when William Pike was unable to squeeze through a narrow opening in the straight, with the resultant bumping duel costing God Has Chosen valuable momentum and leaving him vulnerable to La Farola late. Would have won comfortably with even luck and this looks a super-sweet option for him on the quick backup. Natural on-pacer SON SON makes his return, coming out of a strong lead-up Lark Hill trial. Unbeaten first up and warrants consideration. Happy to put a line through THE FUGAZI last start and expecting him to rebound, while lookout for SPEED DREAM and TRI FOR US attacking the line with force late.

Tips: 3-1-2-10
Suggested: 3. GOD HAS CHOSEN win.

3. GOD HAS CHOSEN
1. SON SON
2. THE FUGAZI
10. SPEED DREAM
8. TRI FOR US

Race 6 – 3:25PM TABTOUCH REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL: THE ROAD TO ASCOT (1200 METRES)

Always a challenge lining up the form in these Regional Championship Finals, but have been taken with the big-finishing efforts from SIGNIFICANT HERO in Geraldton recently. Swooped to victory two back and really should’ve won again last start, getting a long way out of his ground and closing rapidly into second. Will be getting back and running on again, but Steve Parnham just needs to keep him within striking distance. KENDEL’S MEE DAD comes forward second up and has carried big weights successfully in the past. SCANDOLO won the Kalgoorlie series heat and Pike and Fernie command respect, while Albany heat winner COPPING POINTS will be looking to lead throughout and DEVINE BEAST will be swooping from near last.

Tips: 10-1-7-12
Suggested: 10. SIGNIFICANT HERO win.

10. SIGNIFICANT HERO
1. KENDEL’S MEE DAD
7. SCANDOLO
12. COPPING POINTS
5. DEVINE BEAST

Race 7 – 4:05PM JAPAN RACING ASSOCIATION TROPHY (2100 METRES)

Hard to look beyond MIDNIGHT BLUE as he marches towards the Perth Cup on January 1. Was widely predicted to win the Ascot Gold Cup two weeks back and he didn’t let his fans down, scoring decisively at his second run back from a lengthy layoff. Looks even more suited with race-fitness and the rise to 2100m, and Midnight Blue seems to have their measure. MAROCCHINO appears the biggest threat. Boxed on well after breezing outside a very fast Ascot Gold Cup tempo and he looks just about ready to hit peak form. PADDY’S SHADOW was equally brave in the same event when sticking on after being three wide/no cover for the most part, while warhorse BAD WOLF continues to run his heart out and STAFFORD’S LAD was one of the runs of the race behind Midnight Blue last start.

Tips: 4-5-7-10
Suggested: 4. MIDNIGHT BLUE win.

4. MIDNIGHT BLUE
5. MAROCCHINO
7. BAD WOLF
10. STAFFORD’S LAD
11. TEMPTACION
*Numbers amended after scratchings

Race 8 – 4:45PM CROWN PERTH-WINTERBOTTOM STAKES (1200 METRES)

Dominant sprinter ELITE STREET won this race at his eighth start last year and is a superior version of himself in 2021, evident by booming victories in the Crawford Stakes, Prince Of Wales Stakes and Colonel Reeves Stakes. Brad Rawiller rides this fellow with supreme confidence and from a near-perfect barrier draw, Elite Street lands midfields, builds momentum on the turn and overwhelms them with speed and strength late. Luckless in the last two Winterbottoms, STAGEMAN is a definite danger. This high draw might be a blessing for him and he certainly has the closing speed to make things interesting. WILCHINO has rocketed into contention on the back of six straight wins. Hooned around the Ascot 1200m in a near-record 1:08.58 with 60kg two weeks ago and if she repeats well… lookout! GRACEFUL GIRL has a stack of talent and W. Pike on board, but will have to win from last, while RED CAN MAN and CUP NIGHT both have weapons that can make them dangerous at their best.

Tips: 2-9-16-15
Suggested: 2. ELITE STREET win.

2. ELITE STREET
9. STAGEMAN
16. WILCHINO
15. GRACEFUL GIRL
3. RED CAN MAN
8. CUP NIGHT

Race 9 – 5:20PM HEINEKEN 3 HANDICAP (1400 METRES)

Competitive affair to wrap up Winterbottom Stakes Day and with low confidence opted to roll with BERET. Chased home Real Charism and God Has Chosen before her confidence-boosting victory last start, ending a frustrating run of second placings. Did lead and win on that occasion in what was quite an odd race, so the merit of the win will be debated, but you can’t dent this mare’s consistency and she simply has to be a winning chance. Tough on-pacer LORENTINIO loves the Ascot 1400m and has put in two ripping runs to kick off his prep. Always a hard horse to get past. APPLE SCHNAPPS just keeps on surprising people and his last-start win at hs first outing for the Gangemi Bros was too good to ignore, while BOGART can impact first up and BRUCE ALMIGHTY looks well placed from this draw with Chris Parnham back on board.

Tips: 6-1-2-4
Suggested: 6. BERET win.

6. BERET
1. LORENTINIO
2. APPLE SCHNAPPS
4. BOGART
8. BRUCE ALMIGHTY

**This edition of #TheLegUp by @thoroheadsWA originally published at 7:00am on Thursday 25 November 2021

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