With their long-term sights on the Golden Slipper, connections of promising youngster Shangri La Express are hoping he can take home first prize in the $1 million Golden Gift to secure a spot in the world’s richest juvenile race.
While no Golden Gift winner has yet gone on to Golden Slipper glory, the victor of Saturday’s Rosehill feature will bank enough in stakes to take the pressure off having to qualify for a berth during the autumn.
Trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott had that in mind when opting to target the Golden Gift (1100m) with impressive debut winner Shangri La Express.
Tulloch Lodge representative Neil Paine said the two-year-old was far from the finished product and the stable felt he had the scope to develop into a quality autumn-class youngster.
“We do because if you have a look at the horse in the paddock, he hasn’t furnished, he is still very babyish,” Paine said.
“We’re hoping he can notch another win under his belt and get his prizemoney up for the Slipper, because this is an important race Slipper-wise.
“Then he can go out for a break after this, furnish into a nice horse and come back a lot stronger.”
Shangri La Express showed his natural ability to win the Kirkham Plate (1000m) on debut off the back of a single barrier trial.
He made significant improvement between his trial and his race and Paine was expecting a similar leap leading into Saturday’s Golden Gift.
“He had one trial into the race so you’d think, and I know he has, improved from that run,” Paine said.
“Regan Bayliss galloped him last Saturday morning and said he went super.”
Tulloch Lodge will also saddle-up Betta Being Single in the race after she went down fighting to Trapeze Artist’s baby sister Gai’s Artist at the Kensington track last month.
The daughter of Better Than Ready led and proved hard to get past and Paine said she too deserved a shot on Saturday.
“She’s a speedy little filly. She’s probably not there yet but….even running a place, the prizemoney is very important for the Slipper,” he said.
“She was nabbed by a pretty good horse that day and she tries hard, which is a plus.”
– RAS NewsWire