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Golden Slipper preview

Well, it's been quite a while since my last post but considering there's very little racing going on and everyone needs something to distract them from the current world crisis, I thought I'd preview the world's richest 2yo race, the Golden Slipper.

Racing in Australia is still going ahead, under tight restrictions, with no spectators in attendance. It's unfortunate for NSW racing in particular, being their big carnival time, but since the majority of the interest comes away from the track, hopefully it keeps the industry ticking over and racing-related businesses alive.

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THE LONGINES GOLDEN SLIPPER
1200m , Group 1, 2yo.
AUD 3,500,000
Rosehill Gardens R7, 1630 local, 0530 GMT

This is the pinnacle of juvenile racing in Australia but it's the horsehoe track which is Rosehill (rather than wide open spaces like Randwick or Flemington), and inevitably, Sydney + autumn = rain. At time of writing it was a Soft 6 after being a Heavy 10 earlier in the week. Possible chance of an early afternoon shower and light winds. So at best, I'd say it will be borderline Soft 5/6 - so every horse should get their chance unless there are specialists on absolute concrete or in a dead-set swamp.

Dominant trainers at juvenile level these days are Peter & Paul Snowden and the Maher/Eustace partnership, while Gai Waterhouse and David Hayes have history going back a while. Fillies have won the last three editions and five of the last seven, making the most of their 2kg allowance.

The Field (my market rated to 100%)

1. Tagaloa -  won the Blue Diamond (Victoria's most prestigious 2yo race) a month ago at 25/1, sitting three-wide on the pace and not stopping. Wasn't a complete shock but had underperformed at previous run. Ran second to Farnan in the Todman a fortnight ago, but sat back near last then ran home strongly behind the unchallenged leader. Liked his run a lot more. Career-defining race for trainer and jockey. Drawn perfectly, must go close. 7.0 (6/1)

2. Hanseatic - favourite for the Blue Diamond but drew the inside rail and had a late jockey change, both big negatives. Ran a close second but couldn't quite peg back Tagaloa who had a couple of lengths on him on the turn. Started clear favourite in the race after boom Prelude win when storming home late. Big talent, this draw suits him a lot better. Hasn't raced for a month but did effortlessly win a trial on March 12. He's tuned up and ready to go. 7.0 (6/1)

3. Farnan - has won four from five, his only failure coming in the big field of the Magic Millions in January. That must be some concern as his wins have been in fields of 5,6,8 and 6, with virtually no pressure. At the Gold Coast, with the pressure on in a field of 16, he did nothing. Soft win in the Silver Slipper but don't think he beat much. Hugh Bowman aboard, he's obviously a talented colt but I don't want to be taking around 5/1 in a hot field of this size. Drawn 14, won't be getting a soft run this time out. 15 (14/1)

4. Prague - lovely city but doubt he has the class. Has won three of four, and you might be able to form an argument that his failure came after four weeks off. Visiting jockey Tom Marquand aboard but looks one-paced to me. 51 (50/1)

5. King's Legacy - was fancied in the Magic Millions but only finished sixth, albeit just inches from third place. Won the BJ McLachlan at Eagle Farm handily on Boxing Day, defeating the handy Every Rose. Hasn't raced for 10 weeks but ran sixth in Hanseatic's trial nine days ago. In the Snowden camp, who have won this race twice in the past decade, has last year's winning jockey aboard and is drawn well, assuming the inside isn't disadvantaged. Not the worst, one to throw in the exotics. 34 (33/1)

6. Global Quest - SCRATCHED

7. Mamaragan - very rare for a Slipper winner to win at their second start, but he did look promising taking out the Skyline Stakes three weeks ago. He sat outside the leader on that occasion and strode away nicely in the final stages, leaving the likes of Prague in his wake. Drawn the rail, could get the soft run if he bounces out well and who knows what happens from there. Unlikely, but has promise. 17 (16/1)

8. Away Game - Victorian filly who is undefeated in three starts going right-handed, claiming a Listed, a Group III and the Magic Millions 2YO Classic along the way. Started 40/1 in the Millions, sat midfield and wide with cover, then shot away in the straight. After winning the Widden Stakes in Sydney, she then lined up in the Blue Diamond. She sat four-wide on the pace, outside of the winner Tagaloa, and kept chasing in the straight, beaten only 1.35L. That's very strong form, and drawn gate three, she is right in the mix. 7.0 (6/1)

9. Dame Giselle - the no.1 pick from the Snowden camp. Won the Reisling Stakes a fortnight ago, sitting three wide behind the leaders, easing wide on straightening and just hanging on. Didn't look that flattering but did record the best 800-200m sectional of the race. Earned a bit of hype by winning the $1m Golden Gift, one of Racing NSW overlord Peter V'Landys' newly invented races, at this track in November, but I can't get excited about what she met on that day. Nice draw but will go around without me. 26 (25/1)

10. See You Soon - form all through Dame Giselle. Very honest in her three runs so far but can't have. 26 (25/1)

11. Mildred - beaten behind the two fillies directly above last time. Will press for the lead from out wide, unlikely to get away with that without doing a lot of work. 101 (100/1)

12. Personal - Coolmore-owned filly who ran on for third in the Blue Diamond a month ago, starting 25/1. Tuned up with a trial nine days ago, winning without raising a sweat, in a slightly slower time than Hanseatic. Craig Williams sticks with her. Gate 19 (15 after scratchings) isn't ideal but helps with the price. Wide gates don't instantly rule out horses in this race, especially if the track is cutting up. 16 (15/1)

13. Muntaseera - honest filly who has only won once from five starts. Drew wide in the Diamond but worked home nicely for fifth, then was thumped by Minhaaj in the Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes a fortnight ago. Might squeeze into consideration for wider exotics. 31 (30/1)

14. Hungry Heart - moderate debut at Flemington in January but stepped up several notches with her win in the Sweet Embrace. Drew wide, dropped out to last, then came around them on the turn, giving the favourite and leaders several lengths start. Won very nicely with impressive sectionals. Chris Waller isn't renowned as a 2yo trainer but this filly by Frankel has a genuine chance. James McDonald aboard can only help. 17 (16/1)

15. Cellsabeel - SCRATCHED

16. Thermosphere - filly by first-season sire Exosphere who was an enigmatic racehorse. Won the Magic Night with a short burst of speed and then hanging on until the line. 101 (100/1)

17. Rathlin - third behind Hanseatic in the Blue Diamond Prelude and then an unlucky seventh in the feature, weaving through the field to be beaten just over 3L. Drawn the car park which makes it tough, but sometimes this means the jockey has absolutely nothing to lose by taking a risk. Will be a massive price but could see him winning if all the planets were in alignment. Chuck in your trifectas for the blowout chance. 101 (100/1)

18. Minhaaj - the wildcard of the field. Debuted at Bendigo five weeks ago very impressively then went to Flemington to blow away rivals in the G3 Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes, leaving Muntaseera 4.5L behind her, after easing down in the concluding stages. That filly was beaten under 2.5L in the Blue Diamond, and Minhaaj is still on the rise. Jockey Daniel Stackhouse had a stroke of luck to get the ride on this filly, now he's on the verge of completely transforming his career. 7.0 (6/1)


SUMMARY

Yep, 6/1 the field with four equal favourites! The colts head the market but I am inclined to take them on. Away Game and Minhaaj are the overs. The latter has been crunched since she got into the field (initially second emergency), from 18 into 10 or even shorter.

Tough race but keen to back Minhaaj and Away Game.


1. Minhaaj (10/1 with Bet365)
2. Away Game (17/1 with Bet365)
3. Personal

Tagaloa
Hanseatic
Mamargan
Hungry Heart
Rathlin

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