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Golden Slipper preview

The signature race in Sydney has always been the Golden Slipper - big stakes, quick return on investment and a heavy focus on breeding. That might have changed a little with the creation of the Championships and the Everest at Randwick, but this gem of a race in western Sydney, the world's richest juvenile race, is always a sensational contest.

I put the call for some new blood on the blog for Sydney racing, and taking up the challenge is aspiring NSW form student, Matt Baird. I expect you will enjoy his debut effort and you can follow him at @mattyb1819. Welcome aboard Matt!

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Longines Golden Slipper
Group 1, 2yo, 1200m, AU$3,500,000
Rosehill, Saturday March 24
1510 local, 0410 GMT

What a super edition of Sydney’s premier race for two-year olds, the Longines Golden Slipper!
Described by the Slipper Queen herself, Gai Waterhouse, as a “sexy race” earlier in the week, I can’t help but agree. As the thoroughbred industry places more and more emphasis on early-running types the Slipper continues to grow in importance. This year's race looks to be an absolute lottery and add to that the potential to be racing on a Soft 7 or worse and it’s just another chaos factor for us as punters to overcome.

This runner-by-runner preview is done with a track rating of Soft 7 or worse in mind. Whilst your form guide will have soft track wins for seven runners only Aylmerton has won on a ‘7’, with Written By the only runner to have won on a heavy track.

1. Written By – The unbeaten colt and great family story of this year's race being trained by Grahame Begg and bred by his father Neville. The post to post winner of the Blue Diamond who is also the only runner in the field to have won on a heavy track. Young gun Jordan Childs sticks and he will have a much easier task from this barrier draw, mapped to use that draw to be very prominent early. On the quick back up from a tenacious win his first go the Sydney way last week, I expect he will have his supporters and could start favourite.

2. Santos – Gai goes for Slipper #7 from barrier 7 here and she couldn’t have asked for a better gate. I think he was flat when a second-up winner of the Skyline at Randwick but he dug deep late and got the job done. The form around him is suspect at best and I would put the pen through him not being in such astute hands.

3. Aylmerton – Tommy Berry is back from Hong Kong to ride and he adds Slipper pedigree to French trainer Jean Dubois’ colt. Coolmore have bought into him since his last start Todman Stakes victory, where he was still a bit new to it all when driving underneath Ef Troop. Stuck his nose out on the line that day and did so on inferior ground to how the day played. A magnificent type on looks and wouldn’t be out of place being led back into the winners stall.

4. Long Leaf – This Melbourne juvenile from the Hayes camp comes into this off a last start Blue Diamond failure. Was well supported that day and had a SP of $7, it certainly was a poor run but from a price perspective $81 seems large if you can forgive.

5. Performer – Winner of the Breeders' Plate way back in September and remained the Slipper favourite until Sunlight won the Magic Millions. Last start he baulked under urgings from jockey Hugh Bowman and through him off! Having been back to the trials and with blinkers applied, he did move very smoothly. This colt has the ability to give Chris Waller his first Slipper but whether the preparation has him fit enough for this remains to be seen.
   
6. Ef Troop – By boom first season sire Spirit of Boom, this boy knows only one way. He will ping the gates and lead them up at a solid clip. Collett has drawn inside here and will hunt him up in an effort to stop the speed fillies from wide crossing him. He will use too much petrol in the first 900m and will be running on empty here late.

7.  Prairie Fire – Had every chance in the Diamond and finished 4L off Written By there. I’d be suprised if he got any closer to him here.

8.  Sandbar – He gave favourite backers a scare last weekend when he moved up inside Written By only to lose that war by a half. This is a horse that can tie in some of the Sydney form to the Melbourne runners. Having finished in behind Santos in the Skyline given every possible chance it was a shock to seem him so close to Written By last week. You will find many form students gushing over the times out of last weeks run but just how he got so close would concern me if I was on the Diamond winner.

9.  Enbihaar – The first of our fillies to look at here and this girl always goes around at a good price and is yet to let her supporters down. A very ordinary trial last week on the Heavy has me putting a pen through her.

10.  Sunlight – Having won twice now in Sydney in preparation for this, she is looking to stamp herself as one of the most dominant 2-year-old fillies in history. She brained them in the Magic Millions when having her first run against the boys and looks to bring strong form into Saturday's race. The McEvoy camp have conveyed that she hasn’t been wound up for her lead-in runs and should she turn up looking fitter, if so then look out! She will get a perfect run just off the leading division here which is a positive but have they emptied her out approaching her seventh run this season?

11.  Estijaab – Team Hawkes has this impeccably-bred Snitzel filly and she can ping the lids like a greyhound. After 50m she will be a length and a half in front so crossing from deep shouldn’t be a concern. Moderate win last start but this isn’t Team Hawkes’ first time to the big dance. They would have left something in the tank for Grand Final day!

12.  Oohood – McEvoy's forgotten filly who gets the services of Zac Purton for the big one here. Promises the world and delivers a placing is the best way to describe this girl, gets back and runs on but only for the minors again here.

13.  Fiesta – Having just come from McEvoy’s two seed we arrive at Wallers. Since applying the blinkers she has gone much better and is one of the more advantaged runners by the forecasted wet conditions. Your form guide will tell you she has drawn the carpark but ‘out’ may be better than ‘in’ seven races into the programme.

14.  Sizzling Belle – By this stage of the day the O’Hara and Olive combination may already have a Group 1 and let’s hope they do as they have no chance here.

15.  Seabrook – Unlucky to have been balloted out of the Blue Diamond as she could have given that a real shake. That misfortune could be a blessing in disguise, with the stable quickly setting their sights for Sydney and came to play with a big win last start. Sitting deep throughout she did a fair bit of work before tipping out Fiesta that day, her trackwork since looked smart and has been very well supported to win here. Her Grand Final is here, where as the top two in the market have reached the summit, come back down and are looking to go again.

16.  
Secret Lady – Lucky last entrant into the field with the Black Opal winner Encryption not accepting here. Her price suggests she is the worst in the field, as does the saddle cloth but she is a trier and can finish in front of a few.

17.  Qafila – Her racing style doesn’t lead to consistent results and as such didn’t gather the necessary prizemoney for this. Not a filly to drop off though over the carnival, if the Hayes camp go to a race like the Percy Sykes I could be with her.

18.  Gongs – Is looking for further and should come back in grade.

19.  Legend of Condor – I’d love for someone who is giving Sandbar a chance to go back to that Skyline race won by Santos and tell me how this boy finished ahead of him.

20.  Spin – Just not going to be this year for the Snowden’s and Harron Bloodstock.

Having looked at every runner in detail I can say with confidence that I’m not confident! Most horses do get their chance in this race however and with even luck I have them rated:

1.       Aylmerton
2.       Performer
3.       Seabrook
4.       Sunlight

I’m taking a chance on Written By being softened up in a speed battle with the fillies coming over from out wide. I have given a boost to runners that can sit in the sweet spot of just off the pace but not too far from the leaders as the Slipper is always a high pressure race.

Betting Strategy:
From a punting angle I’m going to back both my top rated colts here 1x3 with a small profit to be made on either placing at current prices. It should be a super race and fingers crossed we have found the winner here.

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