Talented sprinter Winter Bride will be one of three mares striving to join an elite group to claim the Victory Stakes, when the five-year-old tackles the Group 2 feature at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
As well as Winter Bride, the Kris Lees-trained Miss Fabulass and Tony Gollan’s Outback Barbie will attempt to join last year’s winner I Am Excited who became only the fourth mare this century to win the Victory Stakes.
I Am Excited’s win for trainer David Pfieffer followed Ciaron Maher’s triumph with Srikandi in 2015, which broke a ten-year drought since the Gai Waterhouse-trained Wager won in 2005 - when the race was known as the Sir Byrne Hart Stakes.
John Hawkes also won the Sir Byrne Hart Stakes with his mare Only Words the previous year.
The Victory Stakes was run at weight-for-age for many years but this year it is a set weights and penalties race due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
Winter Bride, a Brad Stewart mount, is part of a two-pronged attack in the Victory Stakes from the Toby and Trent Edmonds stable, who also will saddle up last year’s Stradbroke Handicap runner-up Tyzone.
Winter Bride ran fourth in last year’s Victory Stakes but is racing in much better form this campaign after her recent New Zealand and Sydney campaigns.
The Edmonds are yet to win at the highest level but Winter Bride almost gave him his first Group 1 winner when she finished second in the Railway Stakes at Ellerslie on January 1.
She subsequently finished fifth in the Group 1 Telegraph at Trentham on January 18 before a last start fourth in the Group 2 Sapphire Stakes on a heavy Randwick in April.
She's had a soft barrier trial at Beaudesert since her last run in Sydney and she’ll go into the Stradbroke next which will probably be her last run before retiring to stud.
“She drew wide and was three-deep the whole way in the Railway but she kept coming and only just got beaten,” Trent Edmonds said.
“In the Telegraph, she got smashed from pillar to post then we took her to Sydney for the Sapphire where she raced well but she needed more tempo that day.”
Edmonds has a slight leaning to Winter Bride over Tyzone, who finished seventh to Tambo’s Mate in the Group 3 BRC Sprint (1200m) at Doomben on May 9.
“Winter Bride has a lot of class but has a terrible barrier like Tyzone but she’s flying at the moment,” Edmonds said.
“She's had a soft barrier trial at Beaudesert since her last run in Sydney and she’ll go into the Stradbroke next which will probably be her last run before retiring to stud.
“Tyzone should race well again but he’ll peak on Stradbroke day.”