Winter Stakes a spring start for Stampede
The Winter Stakes at Rosehill will be an important stepping stone for dual stakes winner Stampede as he bids to resurrect his racing career after a lengthy break.
Saturday's Listed sprint will be the six-year-old's first start since October and just his second run in the space of 14 months.
Trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have ensured he has a solid fitness foundation for his first-up assignment as they plot a path towards the better staying races during the Sydney spring carnival including the Group One Metropolitan (2400m) in October.
"It's important for us to get him up and racing," Bott said.
"We want to have a nice spring campaign with him, he's proven to be that class and ability, and I think this will bring him on nicely to prepare towards some of those targets.
"He could be a real Metropolitan type of horse for us."
Stampede showed staying promise early in his career posting back-to-back stakes wins over 2000m in the 2017 Wagga Cup and the Chairman's Handicap in Brisbane.
The following season he finished third to Harlem in the Naturalism Stakes in Melbourne and fifth to Winx in the 2018 Chipping Norton Stakes before a sequence of setbacks halted his momentum.
Bott concedes Stampede might find some of his Winter Stakes rivals too sharp over 1400 metres but he is also confident the horse has had an adequate build-up to be competitive on his return.
"He's back off a bit of a layoff and he's going to no doubt improve from the run but we've tried to give him a nice long build-up," Bott said.
"He's had three trials in preparation for this and he should enjoy the soft conditions."
Stampede has top weight of 61kg for the Winter Stakes which has attracted a capacity field of 16 including the Godolphin pair of Civic Stakes winner Gaulois and consistent mare Organza, who returns to Sydney off a stakes placing in Queensland during the winter carnival.
Tulloch Lodge will also start Call Me Royal in the Book Spring Hospitality Handicap (1500m) and Bott is confident she can go on with the job after rebounding off a midfield effort against older horses at Randwick to show her rivals a clean pair of heels at Rosehill last start.