Whitefriars spot on for Winterbottom

It’s hard to believe Whitefriars had only won two races in 13 starts before commencing his current campaign at Warwick Farm in September.

Whitefriars looked a readymade racehorse when he won a Canberra juvenile by seven lengths on debut in January 2008.  But the youngster refused to settle in his races and was left a sitting shot more often than not.

Resuming as a spring three year-old, he was placed in the G3 San Domenico Stakes and G2 Stan Fox Stakes and the following autumn he led them up before compounding in the LR Strada Stakes and LR Darby Munro Stakes.

Trainer Rick Worthington had the flashy chestnut gelded earlier this year and the turnaround has been nothing short of extraordinary.  He returned this season for a first-up win at Warwick Farm and then ran top mare Hot Danish to a short-neck in the G2 The Shorts at Randwick.

Whitefriars followed up with a Listed win in the Lightning Stakes at Randwick and then travelled south for a G2 victory in the Salinger Stakes at Flemington.

“The key was gelding him,” Worthington said.  “I turned him out for five months and he comes back and done a great job.”

Whitefriars (5g Arena – Alsatia by Marauding) is gunning for a feature race hat-trick in the G2 Winterbottom Stakes in Ascot this Saturday.  He has drawn well and jockey Damien Oliver should be able to give him the run of the race.

“He’s spot on,” Oliver declared after partnering the horse for the first time in a workout on Tuesday.  “He’s coming off two good runs in the Eastern States and is nice and relaxed.  He’s a big lump of a horse with a lively attitude.”

Whitefriars is by Danehill’s Victorian Derby winner Arena who stands at Lomar Park Stud.  He is a younger brother to Ringmeister who has won four races in Perth up to 2200m for leading trainer Lindsey Smith.  The last of them was as an odds-on favourite at Belmont in September.

Whitefriars was purchased by Worthington and his main client Ross Smyth-Kirk for $80,000 at the 2007 Inglis Classic yearling sale.  He has since earned over $407,000 and there’s a large portion of $755,000 in prizemoney awaiting the Winterbottom winner.

Worthington went back and bought the Valixir half-brother to Whitefriars for $40,000 at the Classic Sale earlier this year.  He has been named Bouverie Street.

Valixir (Ire) stands alongside Arena at Fred Peisah’s Lomar Park Stud at Werombi in NSW.  He was a G1 winner of the G1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot (defeating Rakti & Starcraft) and the G1 Prix d’Ispahan at Longchamp (defeating Elvstroem).

Valixir is by Arc de Triomphe winner Trempolino (Sharpen Up) from a stakes winning daughter of French 2000 Guineas winner Linamix.

The Sharpen Up influence has nicked nicely with Danehill.  He is the sire of the dam of Danehill Dancer and his son Diesis is the broodmare sire of Churchill Downs (Blue Gum) and Dylan Thomas (Coolmore).