Pannell partners Beau Rossa in G1 Winterbottom

Todd Pannell returns to Group 1 racing for the first time since breaking his collarbone when he rides South Australian hope Beau Rossa in the Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.

The Will Clarken trained sprinter has had a limited preparation in 2022, which Todd Pannell expects will serve him well.

"He's been lightly raced just because we're taking care of him and making sure he does everything right going into each run, and making sure he's 100% every time that he goes out," Pannell said.

"He had a decent prep early on in the year, ran at the Gold Coast and in the Goodwood, and this time he's had a really good break which has been good, and he's come back a lot better this preparation.

"He's only had the one run at Flemington where he ran fourth (Oct Going into Perth this weekend which is second-up, is going to be really good for him and I'm really looking forward to it."

Pannell says Beau Rossa trialled "exceptionally well" at Belmont on Monday and has drawn barrier eight, in a sprint that the Clarken team has had earmarked for quite some time. 

"A gate right in the middle is going to be ideal for him and hopefully he gets that nice run.

"I think he'll handle the conditions well over there. He's settled in well and the trial on Monday was exceptional. It's good to see the way he found the line in the trial so can't wait for this Saturday," Pannell said.

"Hopefully we can sneak that Group 1, he's come so close before. I've ridden him as a young horse coming up through from his first start until now, so I really, really like this horse.

"He deserves a Group 1, he has got such a great attitude, and it is a beautiful horse to ride. We love him here at the Clarken racing team."

Beau Rossa, which hasn't won since July last year, will have to be at its absolute best to finish in the placings. A strong eastern brigade has travelled west with Robert Heathcote, James Cummings, Leon and Troy Corstens all accepting with runners in the 0 weight-for-age contest.

Jockeys Damien Oliver, Jamie Kah and Ben Melham are also venturing to Perth.

"I missed the carnival here in Adelaide during the year so it's good to get back, and get up to the top level again," said Pannell who underwent surgery in March to repair his shattered collarbone.

"So really thankful for the opportunity to get the ride on Beau Rossa again for Clarken Racing, and hopefully all the stars align and he runs a good race."

Beau Rossa is rated a $26 chance in TAB's Winterbottom Stakes market.


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