It could be a case of third time lucky for Checkpoint in the $1 million Crown Perth Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on Saturday.

Untimely injuries have prevented the sprinter from lining up in the Group 1 feature in the past two years.

Checkpoint was scratched on the eve of the 2013 race when he injured a sesamoid bone. A few weeks before the race last year he bowed a tendon at trackwork.

His history had trainer Neville Parnham worried about his final warm-up gallop at Belmont Park on Tuesday.

“Checkpoint’s had quite a chequered career,” Parnham said. “But we got him through his final gallop. He’s a high-class horse. He’s pretty fit and he goes well fresh.”

Checkpoint’s form around Elite Belle and Magnifisio when he last raced was a measure of his capabilities, Parnham said.

Despite being restricted to 17 starts, the seven-year-old has finished outside the top three only twice. His five wins have been over 1200m.

Checkpoint was specked at big odds for the Winterbottom yesterday, firming from $41 to $31 with the TAB.

Parnham has two $31 longshots in the sprint, with Rommel also set to return from injury.

A fetlock injury forced Rommel out of the Group 1 Australian Guineas at Flemington in March.

The Commands four-year-old won last year’s WA Guineas (1600m) at Ascot and the Zeditave Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in February.

“We haven’t rushed him back,” Parnham said. “He’s done plenty of work.”

Rommel and Checkpoint drew alongside each other in barriers eight and nine. They will come in one spot each after Sheidel was scratched.

Parnham’s jockey sons, Steven and Brad, are booked for the respective rides.

Interstate sprinters dominate the market, with Buffering the $4 favourite ahead of Fast ‘N’ Rocking at $5. Watermans Bay is the leading local hope at $7.50.

First emergency Silverstream, who gained a start when Sheidel was scratched, firmed from $13 to $9 yesterday.

Jay Rooney

West Australian