The West

Scenic Blast to return for Winterbottom
Scenic Blast to return for Winterbottom

Dan Morton is hoping Scenic Blast can return home in a blaze of glory during the spring after spending almost four years interstate or overseas.

The $500,000 weight-for-age Winterbottom Stakes (1200m), run at Ascot on November 24, is the trainer's prime target.

However, he hasn't dismissed a first-up run for Scenic Blast in the Prince Of Wales Stakes (1200m) on October 27.

The 2008-09 Australian horse of the year ran second to Dante's Volonte in an 1100m sprint on January 10, 2009 at his last race at Ascot.

That launched a whirlwind campaign which saw the striking son of Scenic win the Group 1 Lightning Stakes (1000m) and Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington, before heading to England to win the Group 1 King's Stand Stakes (1000m) at Royal Ascot that June.

Scenic Blast toured the Global Sprint circuit to race at the elite level in the Sprinters' Stakes (1200m) in Japan and the Hong Kong Sprint (1200m) in the same year.

After a bleeding attack in Hong Kong, Scenic Blast was transferred to John Shirreffs, the US trainer of famed mare Zenyatta. He ran places at Group 1 and Group 3 level in California.

Scenic Blast had a second operation to fix a breathing problem after he flopped in the Schweppes Stakes and Patinack Classic at Moonee Valley last spring.

Morton took the eight-year-old to Queensland in the autumn where he ran second to Buffering first up at Eagle Farm on May 2, before running second and 13th to the crack three-year-old filly Sea Siren in the Group 1 BTC Cup and Doomben 10,000 at Doomben.

Morton spelled Scenic Blast and his multiple Group 1 winner Scenic Shot in Queensland before the two horses were floated home to Ascot.

"I am rapt with both of them," Morton said. "They are in work now and going along fine.

"I staggered their trip back to Perth. They had nearly two weeks in Melbourne where they spent some time on a walking machine.

"I want to keep Scenic Blast's prep short and sharp. Whether that means he has one or two runs we will see."

Morton said he would "wait and see" whether Scenic Shot would race again. He was ninth to Lights Of Heaven in the Brisbane Cup (2400m) on June 12.

The 10-year-old has earned $3,095,880 from 17 wins and 16 placings at 74 starts. "If he is happy and I am happy with him then he'll race. If not, he won't," Morton said.

The West Australian

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