The Golden Slipper has stood the test of time as one of the “big four” of Australian racing, the only Sydney race to hold the status.
Although, if the Melbourne Racing Club gets its way with making the Caulfield Cup a weight-for-age race, I’ll personally rally for that race to get kicked out of the big four. The Queen Elizabeth at Randwick can take its place.
This year’s mad scamper for the juveniles is the most open in recent memory, with so many mixed formlines, all complicated by the wet tracks Sydney has encountered in recent times, and the certainty of another one on Saturday.
The fillies do look to have the whip hand at this stage, but do punters have the right ones at the top of the market?
Pariah is one of four horses contesting this after running in the Blue Diamond. He was second there after never being closer than three wide in a handy position thanks to drawing a middle barrier, albeit not working hard.
There was no other horse you wanted to be on at the 300m. He was nutted late by the flying filly Catchy, and his form has been franked by Tulip, who won the Magic Night last week, but was a good two lengths behind him in the Diamond.
Veranillo is one of three or four colts coming into this from the Todman, depending on whether Showtime as second emergency gets a run. It is not seen as the “A” form with the shortest of them at $21.
Veranillo is a workmanlike colt who will be honest, but hasn’t shown enough to suggest he can beat them all on a wet track.
3. Trapeze Artist
It was all honours to Trapeze Artist winning the Black Opal in Canberra last start. He did a little bit of work early but then kicked clear in the straight, denying the backmarkers any chance of running him down.
It was a stylish victory, and his fourth to Invader the start prior ties him into the B form for the Slipper.
4. Single Bullet
Single Bullet earnt his place in the field with a win in the Pago Pago Stakes last week, so comes in fit and in form. It was an on-pace dominated race, but he was tough all the way to the line, enjoying a dog-fight to claim honours.
His stablemate She Will Reign is one of the favourites, but he’ll give a decent account of himself.
5. Diamond Tathagata
Diamond Tathagata comes in off his win in the Skyline Stakes, where one of his victims was Single Bullet, who won the Pago Pago last week, so the form has been franked.
That win was on a heavy track, and he also has a (well-beaten) second to She Will Reign on rain affected ground too. He got up off the canvas after looking a beaten horse early in the straight last time, so he’s got heart.
Trekking was well handled by Trapeze Artist in the Black Opal, but certainly caught the eye late barrelling down the outside. With the anticipated pressure a Golden Slipper usually brings, he’ll get back from a wide draw and make up ground in the straight.
If you like the horse, back him for the Sires or the Champagne instead of this.
Invader went down in a photo in the Todman Stakes, to his stablemate Gunnison which isn’t here, trying valiantly to pick him up late but not quite getting there.
He was beaten three lengths behind Houtzen when he met her up on the Gold Coast back in January, but looks like he will get through the ground okay. One of many you could entertain for trifecta’s and first fours.
Menari started short favourite in the Todman Stakes, but was only plain out of the barriers and settled back rather than in an anticipated forward position. Tim Clark took off early around the field to get to the best ground on the outside rail first, and then tried to sustain a 400m run but the horse hit a wall 200m from home.
He’s probably the likeliest chance out of that race, given he showed acceleration for a couple of hundred metres before the mid-race work told, but it’s hard to say whether he was comfortable in the conditions.
The unbeaten Blue Diamond winner hasn’t won by big margins in three of her four career wins, but she does it the hard way for a quality two-year-old by settling back in her races.
Her win in the Diamond was stunning, jumping out of the ground late after spotting Pariah the best part of three lengths at the 200m. It was the win of a special horse, and Tulip’s win last week only enhanced her claims. Craig Williams retains the ride.
Formality was third in the Blue Diamond, behind Catchy and Pariah, after a nice run on the speed thanks to her brilliant barrier manners.
She doesn’t have the class of her stablemate Catchy, but she won’t go down without a fight and will get to run her own race from an inside draw.
Tulip is the key runner that ties in some of the Melbourne and Sydney form. Fourth in the Blue Diamond, she has run and won in Sydney since, taking out the Magic Night last week on a soft track.
She put in a bit of a grinding effort in the Diamond, but looked very comfortable on rain affected ground last Saturday when she didn’t have it easy in the run but put them away with authority. She’s a player.
12. She Will Reign
The long time Golden Slipper favourite had a little gloss taken off her last time out, when she tasted defeat for the first time in the Riesling Stakes.
Ben Melham fell asleep at the wheel in the middle of the track when still idling at the 250m on She Will Reign, unaware than Frolic was sweeping down the outside with a withering burst.
They gapped the rest there, and she is still going to be hard to beat, especially given we know she handles heavy tracks no worries.
Frolic was the giant-killer in the Riesling, taking down She Will Reign thanks to a brilliant outside-rail hugging ride from Tommy Berry. He let this Michael Freedman filly smoke the pipe out the back of that field, before launching a sustained run through the slops.
She’s drawn wide to repeat the dose again, but who knows, we may see Berry snag her back to last with the idea of saving ground on the inside if the field gets off the fence. She’s right in this.
Teaspoon comes out of the Sweet Embrace that was run in inclement conditions at Randwick three weeks ago, where she put in a pleasing performance without ever looking the winner. Having had the run over 1200m on heavy ground will hold her in good stead, but it’s hard to see her winning.
The Golden Slipper favourite comes in off a lazy four length win carrying 63kgs up at Eagle Farm, which was off the back of a Magic Millions win where she crossed the field from the widest gate to go wire to wire.
She did only beat Chauffeur and Madeenaty in that Magic Millions win, who are 60-1 shots in this event. It was the toughest field she’s faced, and by far her narrowest victory. She’ll jump and run along showing her usual speed, and defy all others to catch her.
Madeenaty claimed the scalp of Single Bullet back in December at Wyong, and followed it up with a third to Houtzen on the Gold Coast, beaten three lengths. She’s had the bridging run in down Melbourne in-between times.
She’ll go forward from a middle barrier, and with the hot Regan Bayliss on board, she’ll get every chance, but doesn’t look quite good enough to hold them all out unless she’s an absolute swimmer.
17. Chauffeur (1st emerg)
Chauffeur was favourite in the Black Opal won by Trapeze Artist, but had his chance and wasn’t good enough to outsprint the winner.
18. Showtime (second emerg)
There are worse 70-1 shots than Showtime if he gets a run. He’s been within two or three lengths of Pariah and She Will Reign earlier this prep, and was the only horse on inferior ground in the Todman, flying solo up the middle.
19. The Mission (3rd emerg)
His “mission” is to go back to restricted grade to try and get a win.
The track will be wet and the sky will be grey. Some horses will handle it and some won’t. The speed will be hot, and the jockey’s will be fanning out for the best ground in the straight, each keen to give their horse clean running in order to snare a portion of the $3.5M on offer.
2017 Golden Slipper Selections:
1.Frolic 2. Tulip 3. Catchy 4. Houtzen
The Golden Slipper is one of five Group 1’s on the Rosehill card. We’ll preview the Ranvet Stakes, the Rosehill Guineas and the Galaxy tomorrow, but before that, a quick peek at the George Ryder Stakes containing the mighty Winx.
Winx put any heavy track doubts to bed last start when claiming the Chipping Norton with her usual authority. She probably didn’t put the expected margin on placegetters like Lasqueti Spirit and Who Shot Thebarman, but nor was she asked to do more than was necessary by Hugh Bowman.
It’s a thrill to watch her every time she steps out, and while Chris Waller will insist there is a little question mark over stepping her back in trip, we know this is not the case.
The connections of Chautauqua are to be applauded for stepping the grey flash up in distance and not shying away from Winx. He hasn’t won since his stunning victory at Sha Tin almost a year ago, but at least showed he is far from a spent force last start in the Canterbury Stakes.
Tommy Berry was roasted in some quarters for his ride on Chautauqua in that race, allowing his mount to settled four lengths off the second last horses, and taking an inside run through inferior ground, but at last we saw something approaching the sprint home we expect.
Le Romain conquered Chautauqua in the Canterbury, with Hauraki three lengths away in third. We can expect similar track conditions on Saturday, and these two will run well again. Le Romain is on the verge of becoming a star sprinter-miler in his own right, and may give Winx a moment’s pause at some stage.
Tosen Stardom almost took down Black Heart Bart in the Futurity, over the Caulfield 1400m where that horse has now won three Group 1’s.
Tosen Stardom was first-up there, while Black Heart Bart was rock-hard fit, so we can expect the ex-Japanese galloper to be a player in any Group 1 he contests. Black Heart Bart was a narrow second in the All Aged Stakes last Sydney autumn, so Tosen Stardom must be respected even if his heavy track credentials are unknown.
2017 George Ryder selections:
1.Winx 2.Le Romain 3.Chautauqua 4.Tosen Stardom