Tough-as-nails sprinter Hadabeclorka can conquer a jump in class and defend his Burswood Winterbottom Stakes crown this weekend, according to trainer Brent Larsson.
Picture by David Bailey: Veteran sprinter Hadabeclorka cools off at the Leschenault Estuary earlier this week with apprentice jockey Alex Hearn ahead of Saturday’s Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot.
He says the veteran gelding is ‘‘at least as good’’ as he was last spring.
Group 1 glory is on offer for the 10-year-old gelding at Ascot this Saturday, should he rise to the occasion for a second consecutive year and claim the $500,000 weight-forage feature.
Despite dodging unbeaten Victorian mare Black Caviar who aborted plans to race in the Winterbottom Stakes, Hadabeclorka will still have to trump an all-star field which will include highly fancied interstate chance Ortensia.
Hadabeclorka raised eyebrows in Perth 12 months ago when he scored a stunning upset win in the then Group 2 race.
That day, the Hurricane Sky gelding was given little chance of victory by experts and was unwanted by punters whomissed the juicy payout of $53.20 and $10.70 available on the tote.
Larsson said he was happy with Hadabeclorka’s preparation for Saturday’s race.
He said the horse had trialled well, and dismissed a shaky opening to his campaign earlier this month when he could only manage last of nine in the $125,000 Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes at Ascot.
‘‘Last year in that lead-up race he got beaten by two-and-a-half lengths carrying 53kg, and this year, he got beaten by three-and-a-half carrying 60kg,’’ Larsson said.
‘‘He never really shows that much first up.’’
A gun ride from top jockey William Pike delivered Hadabeclorka a dream inside run in the 2010 Winterbottom Stakes.
This time around comeback hoop Glenn Smith — who is less than two weeks into a return to the saddle after a four-year riding hiatus — will be on board.
‘‘Glenn is a very good rider, I’ve always had a very high opinion of him and I’m very happy to have him riding,’’ Larsson said.
Meanwhile, boom apprentice Kyra Yuill will have to overcome a tough barrier draw of 11 if she is to impact the field on board Grant Williams-trained galloper Battle Emblem in the $1 million Group 1 Carlton Draught Railway Stakes, also run on Saturday.
After being overlooked for the 1600m feature last year, Yuill said she was excited about her prospects on the day, particularly on board Avante, a last-start Group 3 winner at Ascot, who shows up on the Winterbottom betting sheets at $21.
Yuill will also take the reins of First Flight, trained at her father Graham’s Dardanup stables, in the $350,000 Group 2WARacing Guineas (1600m) on Saturday.