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Golden Slipper day: Group 1 previews and tips

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17th March, 2021
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NRL is already back. AFL is hot on its heels. And Rosehill greets us with four Group 1 races on their biggest day. What a weekend of sport awaits.

The Rosehill track is a soft 6 at the time of writing, but the greater Sydney area is to be swamped by a deluge of rain over the coming days, so a heavy track is confidently anticipated. It may just be a question of how bottomless it will be.

Golden Slipper
The jewel of the Sydney racing crown before the Everest came along, the Golden Slipper still remains a fascinating spectacle.

Only two horses in this field have seen a heavy track, O’President and Four Moves Ahead. Both are bred to enjoy those conditions, and registered wins accordingly. Albeit in restricted grade, both have also won since on soft tracks at Stakes level, so they can be trusted to handle it well. Four Moves Ahead is a big chance from a lovely middle-wide draw.

The Blue Diamond form can always be trusted in a Slipper, with one or two out of it always running top five in the Slipper. Artorius hasn’t been seen since his win there, but Anamoe and Arcaded have both subsequently won group races in Sydney out of it.

Anamoe is by a very good wet track sire in Street Boss, has drawn wide which must be favourable, and James Cummings will have left something in the tank for this race. Rachel King could ride a rocking horse to victory at the moment too.

Behind Anamoe in the Todman were spruik horses Profiteer and Stay Inside. Risking the former despite stable confidence, and the latter may be in inferior ground from gate 3. Can see Mallory popping up at odds as the late swooper if Collett can find the right lane.

Selections: 1. Anamoe 2. Four Moves Ahead 3. O’President 4. Mallory

Anamoe ridden by Damien Oliver

Anamoe ridden by Damien Oliver is a favourite for the Golden Slipper. (Scott Barbour/Racing Photos via Getty Images)

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The George Ryder
The All-Star Mile has taken some gloss of this million dollar race, given some of the country’s best milers raced in it last week, but a quality field has still been assembled.

Four equal favourites head the betting. Poor Kolding is screaming out for a good track to record his next win, but isn’t going to get it here. Arcadia Queen is simply not as effective on wet ground at this level, and at this distance range.

Funstar hasn’t quite reached the heights in open company that she did as a gun three year old, but is coming off a great run in a hot field and proved herself more than adept on wet ground as a filly.

Avilius has only seen a heavy track twice, and has two Group 1 wins to show for it. They were at 2000m and 2400m, and he has raced in two Melbourne Cups. But he’s a very good mile horse early in his campaigns, and if being trained that way this time may be the one to beat.

Outside the main market chances, Cascadian always has to be thrown in the numbers but finds it hard to win, Dalasan has a touch of class and has snuck under the radar a bit, Dawn Passage can certainly win off her Golden Eagle run under very similar circumstances in the spring, and Junipal will beat more home than beat him in this ground if he’s fit enough first-up – he has form against some of these as a younger horse.

Selections: 1. Avilius 2. Funstar 3. Dawn Passage 4. Dalasan

The Galaxy
Everest runners Eduardo and Haut Brion Her are the class runners of the field. They met twice in the spring, on wet and dry ground, and it was to the latter’s advantage both times. Haut Brion Her gets a weight advantage since those meetings due to Eduardo’s outstanding first-up win in the Challenge Stakes.

Both have imposing wet form, and Haut Brion Her is a first-up flyer. To add some spice, they have drawn side-by-side and will be eye-balling each other on the speed.

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Tallieur is the rising star down the bottom of the weights, already proven as a gun wet tracker, and an 1100m specialist to boot. Getting the right horse into these Group 1 handicaps with a minimum weight is an art, and James Cummings may have perfect it with this mare. Rachel King is going to have a good day.

Gosh, those three are awfully hard to split.

Wild Ruler commands attention as a three year old and a renowned winner. Being by Snitzel helps his cause, and his effortless first-up win promised more to come.

Easy Eddie shouldn’t escape notice, having run third in this race on a heavy track behind Nature Strip two years ago – he showed first-up that he was back, behind the smart California Zimbol, and he is better on wet than dry.

Splintex has talent but is perhaps a level below Group 1 standard. He enjoys wet tracks at this time of year though, and has run against the very best. Bella Vella and Fabergino are serious sprinting mares, and good old Jungle Edge will run top five if it’s a heavy 10, without question.

Selections: 1. Tallieur 2. Haut Brion Her 3. Eduardo 4. Easy Eddie

Hugh Bowman wins the Golden Slipper

Hugh Bowman wins the Golden Slipper on Farnan in 2020. (Photo by Jenny Evans/Getty Images)

Rosehill Guineas
Most people have the slows on this season’s crop of three year old’s, and this doesn’t feel like a classic Guineas field.

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The quinella from the Randwick Guineas, Lion’s Roar and Mo’unga, head the betting, albeit in reverse order to which they finished in that race.

Lion’s Roar sailed home from last in clear running to confirm his quality. A second placed finish in the Spring Champion back in October confirms the step up to 2000m will be no problem. Mo’unga was in traffic behind Lion’s Roar, and was the obvious flashing light out of the race. He did beat Lion’s Roar in a Newcastle BM64 early in the season too! Both of these each won their first race on heavy tracks, but haven’t seen one since.

Lunar Fox appears underrated again after his $301 win in the Australian Guineas and fourth placing in the All Star Mile at $51. I’d back Mugatoo, Russian Camelot and Behemoth to beat Lion’s Roar and Mo’unga at WFA. And while the track for the All Star Mile reads soft 6, it was surely a heavy 8 at least at that stage. Lunar Fox is in the zone, and should be respected.

Montefilia was a star of the spring, is a dual Group 1 winner already, and really comes into her own at 1600m – 2000m. The step up from 1400m to 2000m shouldn’t be an issue, and her return run in the Surround was as pleasing as could be. If she gets through the ground, she may well be the one to beat.

Wheelhouse was fourth in the Randwick Guineas and has wet track form. Khoekhoe is another Melbourne visitor, and has consistency on his side.

Selections: 1. Montefilia 2. Lunar Fox 3. Lion’s Roar 4. Mo’unga