Savatoxl has zest for G1 Winterbottom Stakes

Trainer Will Savage maintains Savatoxl is showing enthusiasm and a zest for racing as he prepares for a first up tilt at the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.

Alice Springs-based Will Savage is looking for further interstate success with Savatoxl, the well-travelled Kuroshio gelding a multiple black-type winner in Adelaide and Melbourne.

In 2021, Savatoxl reached a career peak to win the Group 1 Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville and the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield for trainers Tony and Calvin McEvoy.

The eight-year-old has not raced since The Feehan Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley in September when according to Savage he had excuses running 11th to Pinstriped.

Savatoxl’s final campaign run belied his earlier preparation when he won the Group 3 McKay Stakes (1100m) for a second time and placed in two other stakes races in Adelaide.

Savage says his veteran is going as well as he can ahead of his Perth debut in the Winterbottom Stakes.

He believes Savatoxl is fit and sound and raring to go.

“He’s going pretty good and is a good horse,” Savage said to the Races WA.

“We haven’t had much luck in quite a few of his recent races.

“If you look through it he’s drawn wide, but has still been competitive.

“He’s an honest horse who has a bit of ability.

“He’s going well, is sound and still keen to race.

“I just have to keep going while he’s like that.

“It doesn’t matter how old he is, the horse hasn’t faulted over the year.

“He’s still putting the times in track work and is still as keen as ever

“Jockeys are still swinging on him when he’s working.

“He hasn’t changed a bit, just matured.”

Unlike other interstate raiders who took a direct flight from Sydney to Perth, Savatoxl travelled the long road for the Winterbottom.

The float trip from Alice Springs to his base in Bunbury took five days and covered 4230km via Port Augusta in South Australia.

Savage said Savatoxl, who is well versed in travelling, handled the trip in his stride.

“I wanted to get here early so he could get over it sort of thing,” Savage said.

“It didn’t take much out of him, I was quite happy with the way he travelled and pulled up.

“He got over it well and everything is on track.”

Fresh from her first Group 1 ride on Mojo Rhythm in the Railway Stakes, Holly Watson will back up on Savatoxl in the Winterbottom Stakes.

Savage was keen to book Watson and says her pattern of riding will suit Savatoxl.

“She’s proved herself that she can judge pace,” Savage said.

“She’s not scared to go to the front.

“He doesn’t have to lead, but he has to be up there with them.

“He’ll roll along and if he’s good enough he’ll take some beating.”

Savage will hope the trend of interstate horses doing well in the Winterbottom Stakes can continue.

In the past 15 years 10 of the interstaters have been successful in plundering Perth’s rich feature sprint.

Paulele for James Cummings and the Godolphin team was successful a year ago when he circled the field from last.

Savatoxl has won 19 races and placed on seven other occasions from 44 starts for $1.3 million in prize money.

Savatoxl also holds an entry for the $1.5 million Damien Oliver-Gold Rush (1400m) on December 16.

The barrier draw for the Winterbottom Stakes will be conducted at a breakfast at Ascot on Tuesday morning.

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