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Cup Night spot on for Winterbottom assignment

Jockey Pat Carbery is confident a plan hatched by trainer Bernie Miller several months ago will pay big dividends when Cup Night contests the Group 1 Crown Perth Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.

Cup Night, who contested last year’s Railway Stakes (1600m) and Kingston Town Classic (1800m), has not raced since the Roma Cup (1200m) in May and goes to the Winterbottom Stakes first up after three trials. “This is the plan Bernie outlined about two and a half months ago,” Pat Carbery told The Races WA.

“It wasn’t out of the blue or anything, it was a deliberate strategy. All along it was three trials and have him peaking on the day. He’s got a great fresh record and his work on Tuesday was very good.

“He’s exactly where Bernie wants him to be ahead of the Winterbottom. I couldn’t be any happier and he’s going as well as ever. I reckon he is going as well if not better than when he won the Northam Stakes (1100m).”

Cup Night is $26 in current Tabtouch markets. Defending Winterbottom Stakes champion Elite Street the $2.60 favourite after a flawless campaign.

Elite Street is unbeaten after wins in the Crawford Stakes (1000m), the Prince Of Wales Stakes (1000m) and Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m). Despite the 5-year-old’s dominant market position, Carbery says he takes a lot of confidence out of Cup Night’s run in the Roma Cup.

In an exciting conclusion to the Group 3 winter feature, Cup Night charged home powerfully from near last and ran a close fifth to Money Matters. It was a bunching finish with less than a length separating the first five runners, Elite Street running second with Dance Music and Flirtini splitting Cup Night.

“I had to go around horses while Elite Street went inside of me,” Carbery said. “Elite Street has obviously improved and is going to be the testing material. But I think it showed that Cup Night is right on his hammer. I’m confident and as happy as I can be with him.”

Cup Night is raced by Miller and Carbery’s family, including his dad, mum, brother and wife, former jockey Jessica. Even with his family connection, Carbery says he will treat the Winterbottom Stakes as any other race.

“There won’t be any added pressure with my family being involved in the ownership,” Carbery said. “I naturally want to win for them and my best mate, Bernie.

“But it’s also a Group 1 race and we don’t have too many of them in Perth. I haven’t won the race and I would dearly love to win it. It’s our premier sprint race.”

Meanwhile Carbery says he expects Poulton Le Sands to run a bold race in the Japan Racing Association Trophy (2100m). The former Sydney galloper has run fifth in three Perth outings and last-start ran on well behind Midnight Blue in the Ascot Gold Cup (1800m).

“His runs have been good,” Carbery said. “He’s on a Perth Cup campaign and is improving. He’s been hitting the line strongly and has come on since his last run.”

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