The Golden Slipper meeting will be held at Rosehill this Saturday. What a big meeting this is with 5 Group 1 races in the programme. The Rosehill track was rated a Slow 7 on Thursday and with persistent shower forecast for the next few days, Rosehill could downgrade to Heavy on raceday.
The first Group 1 race of the meeting is the Vinery Stud Stakes (Sydney Race 4, 2000m). This is usually the dress re-hearsal for the ATC Oaks runners. It is no different this year with the acceptances of Dear Demi, Norzita and Habibi. The 2000m would certainly suit Dear Demi as she was very strong at winning the VRC Oaks (2500m) in the Spring. However, she was a little disappointing at her last start in the Coolmore Classic. In the same race, Norzita ran a great 3rd beaten only a short half head. Her trainer Bart Cummings has given punters a good lead when he decided to miss the Group 1 Queen of the Turf Stakes (1500m) and instead run against her own age group in the Vinery Stud Stakes. Given her form and at set weight, Norzita looks hard to beat.
In the BMW (Sydney Race 5, 2400m), my ratings have the two bottom weighted horses fighting out this Group 1 race. Silent Achiever and Fiveandahalfstar are both good young stayers, with Silent Achiever winning the NZ Derby last season and Fiveandahalfstar winning the VRC Derby. From barrier 6, Hugh Bowman will no doubt take Fiveandahalfstar to the lead with Silent Achiever settling mid-field about 6th one off the fence. Both horses will no doubt run the 2400m right out. However I am mindful of the anticipated wet condition, with Silent Achiever remains unbeaten on Slow or Heavy track whereas Fiveandahalfstar has never been placed on wet track. For that reason, I have tipped Silent Achiever to win the BMW. Currently she is at $10.00 fixed odds and I believe that is over the odds.
The main feature of the day, the Group 1 Golden Slipper for 2YO (Sydney Race 7, 1200m), here we have 16 starters wth most of them not having raced on wet track before. Hence there is a bit of guess work to pick the winner but from all the lead-up races, the two best chances are Sidestep and Overreach. Both youngsters are by Exceed and Excel so I expect them to handle the wet condition. The inside barrier (barrier 1) was perfect for a speed horse like Overreach. However if the track has come up as Heavy on Saturday, then it could be a disadvantage being close to the fence especially the fence will be rather cut up by race 7. From barrier 5, Sidestep should settle just off the pace and that leaves Kerrin McEvoy with plenty of options. Having said that, I still believe should Tommy Berry be able to pilot Overreach with a clear passage, she will be too good for this field.
By Owens Wong, Editor