Self-interest will be the death of horse racing in Australia.
The Golden Slipper Stakes is one of those races that punters either love or care nothing at all about. I must say that I place myself somewhat in the latter category, as I find it hard to bring to mind past winners from one year to the next.
Going a bit deeper, I have always felt that the winning of Group Ones should be the pinnacle of a horse’s career, rather than the point from which such a career is launched.
At the same time, relatively few Golden-Slipper winners in recent times have ever been able to reach similar heights again, and those that have, all of them colts, such as Pierro, have been retired to stud quite early to capitalise on their supposed breeding potential.
Whichever way one views the Slipper, there is absolutely no doubt that it has been surpassed in recent years by such events as the Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the Everest as far as quality Sydney racing is concerned.
I would argue, in any case, that the great Randwick mile events and the Australian Derby were always superior and far more interesting.
The Slipper winner must, nonetheless, be identified. As foreshadowed last week, the barrier draw complicated the issue immeasurably, with top chances such as Yes Yes Yes and Exhilarates drawing very poorly.
Winners can come from wide out, but only infrequently, and everything must go their way. A wet track could make a tough task somewhat easier, but in general, looking for something drawn in the first half is a good rule of thumb.
Tenley may be the one this year. The Reisling Stakes has always been a great pointer to the Slipper, and Tenley’s win in this event two weeks ago was outstanding.
Overall, I just love the way her short career thus far seems to have been directed at Slipper success. After one early run, she was put aside before resuming for an easy win prior to the Reisling triumph.
Her performing badly just seems unlikely, whereas legitimate questions do exist about the prospects of some of the other fancied runners.
Yes Yes Yes will have to come from a long way back, while Time to Reign will find it hard to turn his form around after failing in the Todman Stakes two weeks ago.
Lyre, meanwhile, has done nothing wrong, but relatively few Blue-Diamond winners are able to back up to take out a Golden Slipper, with or without a lead-up run in Sydney. My other comment is that I like horses that have some experience in large fields.
This applies, of course, to Lyre, but it may also be relevant in assessing the prospects of Exhilarates and Dubious, who ran the quinella in the Magic Millions earlier this year. Form from the MM is never the worst, and I do feel that at least one of the two might do something from the bad draw.
It does look a tough race on what is a tough day. Pardon the pun that follows, but I am a little excited about the prospects of number nine in the Galaxy. The good mares are always competitive in open company at this time of year, and she should be strong at the end of this with her light weight.