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Pateman hoping Group 1 history repeats

Jockey-turned-trainer hoping for fairytale result in Perth Group 1

The Winterbottom Stakes barrier draw was something Mitchell Pateman had no control over, but he hopes it plays an ethereal part in This'Ll Testya's quest for victory in Saturday's feature race at Ascot.

And not just because he thinks a middle alley will assist the seven-year-old mare's chances.

The daughter of Testa Rossa drew barrier nine in the $1.5 million Group 1 but will start from gate eight if the emergency Titans Blinders does not gain a run.

That was precisely the scenario for Willoughby, who was trained by Mitchell's late father Michael, when he won the Group 1 Railway Stakes in 1998.

"Willoughby drew nine and jumped from eight which is where it looks like we're going to so hopefully history repeats itself," he said.

"She's drawn the river (wide) all prep but she's raced very well so it's probably good to be somewhere in the middle."

The Winterbottom will be the first Group 1 runner for Pateman, who turned to training midway through last year after weight brought an early end to his career as a jockey.

The 27-year-old had an admirable career in the saddle, riding almost 750 winners, including a handful at Group 3 level, but never really got too many genuine winning opportunities at the highest level.

He is pinching himself that he has one so early in his training career.

"It's enormous, I'm in the first 12 months of my training career, so to have a horse that's in the market in a Group 1 isn't something thought would happen," Pateman said.

"I never got to ride horses in Group 1s with chances because of my weight, so to be able to train one in my first 12 months and for it to be a horse that's as special to me as what she is it's very satisfying."

Pateman set his sights on the Winterbottom with This'll Testya after the seven-year-old was pipped by Winterbottom rival Miss Conteki first-up in the Listed Crawford Stakes on October 15.

She was again runner-up to Miss Conteki in the Group 3 Prince Of Wales Stakes (1000m) two weeks later before winning the Group 3 Colonel Reeves Stakes (1100m) at her most recent appearance.

Pateman knows that form is good enough to compete with the locals, it is just a matter of whether it is good enough to hold off the likes of Queensland star Rothfire, Godolphin pair Paulele and Vilana, and Newmarket Handicap runner-up The Astrologist.

"As soon as she ran first up and she sat off the track and only just got nabbed by Miss Conteki I thought she was on the right path," Pateman said.

"She's been very consistent all prep against the best horses we've got to offer, now she's just got to take it up to the eastern states horses."


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