The rain at Rosehill shouldn’t stop us from seeing one of the most open Golden Slippers in years, on a big day of racing. We’ll also see Winx and Chautauqua in the George Ryder, the Ranvet, Galaxy, Rosehill Guineas and more.
The world’s richest race for two-year-olds looked an open race even before the weather. With spectators encouraged to take floaties to the wettest Slipper in 28 years, don’t be surprised if the list of gear changes includes flippers.
Quality is there but it’s hard to suggest a clear best horse although it looks like the fillies have the class edge, and prize money edge. The unbeaten Blue Diamond winner in Catchy and unbeaten Magic Millions winner in Houtzen bring in more than $2 million between them, while the best of the boys in Pariah has “only” managed to bring in just under $400k.
The form is a great read – even though you only have the usual few runs to go off. One key is the filly Tulip, who allows at least some comparison between local track form (she won last week in the Magic Night) and Melbourne form (she was fourth in the Blue Diamond). However, the Melbourne horses haven’t seen a wet track which throws a spanner in the works.
Cam Rose has a full runner-by-runner preview for the 2017 Golden Slipper and it’s worth a read.
He’s placed Frolic on top, who showed form last week in winning the Riesling over former Slipper favourite She Will Reign, who was explosive in her previous runs. I’m sticking with She Will Reign and saving on both Houtzen and Catchy.
I’m intrigued by the Group 1 George Ryder (1500m). On paper, Winx ticked the heavy track box with her win in the Chipping Norton but it wasn’t quite as convincing as she’s been on the dry. She steps back in distance here.
Her rivals include the top three from the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) run on a heavy 10, including Le Romain, Chautauqua and Hauraki. These are three top line horses with Le Romain unbeaten in his last three starts, while Hauraki won the Epsom last time and should run very well.
Chautauqua is the big query. Hats off to team Hawkes for trying him over 1500m for the first time, and in the wet. It would be a major surprise for Chautauqua to rise up to 1500m and seriously challenge Winx but if the big grey brought his absolute best it could be a battle royale down the straight.
It’s no big claim that I expect Winx to carry on her winning streak given she’s not much longer than $1.15 around the place, but Hartnell showed that being anywhere near her in second shows you’re a fine horse as well.
Speaking of Hartnell, we’ll see him without Winx for the first time as he steps up to the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes over 2000m since his bad last start. He faces a good field with the likes of The United States (who won the race last year), Antonio Giuseppe, and He’s Our Rokkii, and some other good horses that might still be looking for longer in Preferment and Our Ivanhowe.
Hartnell is $1.90 but many will be wanting to see him bounce back after his third-last effort in the Chipping Norton in the wet.
The Group 1 Galaxy (1100m) has assembled a top-line field with only a few of the best sprinters from the Newmarket missing. English gets her chance after missing out last preparation and Heatherly is flying, while there’ll be plenty of eyes on Russian Revolution who has won four from five, and is first-up here off two trials.
Redzel should go well after resuming impressively, while Faatinah doesn’t mind a wet track. Music Magnate would be firmer if not for the ground where he seemed to struggle last go in the Canterbury Stakes.
We’ll also see the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) on the day, as well as a heat of the Provincial Championships as Race 10, after Gosford was washed out. while at Flemington, some good races include the Blamey Stakes, featuring the likes of Black Heart Bart, Palentino and perhaps Tosen Stardom. The other watch will be for any fastlane in action, now a topic of hot debate after criticism grew louder from last week.