Rosemont Stud's American import Winchester is settling into Australian life well
20 Jul 2012 | Anthony Mithen is yet to see or hear anything to quell his enthusiasm regarding the Spring Racing Carnival prospects of imported stayer Winchester.
A four-time Group 1 winner in the United States, Winchester has been purchased by Rosemont Stud as a racing and breeding proposition and Mithen said trainer John Sadler has been thrilled with the way he has settled in since arriving in Victoria in the first week of June.
That, combined with a form line drawn through fellow American import Unusual Suspect, who ran ninth in last year’s Melbourne Cup, has the Rosemont team that Mithen heads up excited about the months ahead.
“We get a bit of a line through Unusual Suspect and, with all due respect to Unusual Suspect, Winchester, with four Group 1s, has got the runs on the board at higher level than Unusual Suspect had in America,” Mithen said.
“He will be an x-factor if he handles it (the trip to Australia) as well as Unusual Suspect did and brings his A game. But he is taking to it well so far and he hasn’t turned a hair.”
Winchester came to Australia from America, where he was a dual Grade 1 winner on turf over both 2000m and 2400m, but before that raced successfully in Ireland, where he started his career under Dermot Weld.
That the seven-year-old has already performed well after travelling filled Mithen with confidence in regards to his Australian prospects.
“Obviously the horse is pretty adaptable,” he said. “He started in Ireland and came through their system and then he performed well in America, so he has travelled and I think that’s held him in good stead to date.”
Winchester has taken to his work well at Sadler’s Malua Racing base at Flemington and Mithen anticipated the $300,000 Group 2 Makyba Diva Stakes (1600m) on 8 September would be his first Australian start.
“A mile at Flemington, which is a track he will at least feel comfortable with, that seems the logical kick-off point,” he said.
Winchester will be one of a number of horses to carry Rosemont’s striking red and white colours during spring with several promising-but-yet-to-be-tested rising three-year-olds on their books.
Rahveel and Flashy Fella are two that are well known to racing fans, but Mithen said they were unlikely to be a factor early in spring.
WA Derby runner-up Flashy Fella will only have a light preparation after hectic two and three-year-old seasons, while classy Zabeel filly Rahveel will be restricted to the 1600m-2000m distance range with the Group 2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) on Emirates Stakes Day a potential target.
Mithen has also been satisfied with the response to Rosemont’s flagship stallion Toorak Toff, who is preparing for his first season at stud.
More than 100 mares have already been booked in to the dual Group 1 winner, including 44 that are either Stakes performed, have already produced Stakes-quality offspring or are out of, or a half to, Group 1 winners.
“The response has been pretty good and it looks like he’s going to get every chance (to succeed), which is great,” Mithen said.