For 90 years before Todman won the first Golden Slipper in 1957, the Sires’ was the number one two-year-old race in NSW. It still today is a magnificent race and it is just the prize money and the stallion making status that the Slipper enjoys which raises that 1200m scamper above this 1400m Classic in the eyes of most racegoers. Ajax won the race in 1937 just before World War II struck and racing in NSW suffered restrictions. Shannon won the race in 1944 and the win barely raised eyebrows due to everyone concentrating their attentions on the skies due to the threat of Japanese invasion.
In 1957, the year the Slipper was first run; perhaps the greatest race in Australian racing history was raced in the Sires’. Tulloch was the victor this day and the champ managed to hold out Todman and Prince Darius.
As discussed earlier in the week, Tulloch may have been the best all-round horse in our rich racing history, while Todman despite being beaten in the 1957 Sires’, is probably our greatest ever two-year-old. Poor old Prince Darius was a bit like Hay List; had Tulloch not been around, Prince Darius would have been an immortal.
While on occasion the Slipper winner can be a bit of a one-hit-wonder, more often than not, the Sires’s winner goes on and is very competitive in their three-year-old season and beyond. The last four winners of this race, Pierro, Helmet, Yosei and Manhattan Rain, all went on to be very good horses after winning this race.
This year, as with all the Group One races on Saturday, we have a very short priced favourite who looks almost unbeatable. However, it is a two-year-old race and Overreach will have had to come through her run last week without any issues. But when the Golden Slipper is over in the first 15m of the race and a filly can win almost untouched, you would have to think she can only be improved from that run. So who can beat her? Probably none of them, but here is a bit of a run down on the trifecta chances.
Windjammer: Bjorn Baker could train a Clydesdale to win a Newmarket first up at the minute. He is just looking for that first really big win and Windjammer may provide that win; whether that is tomorrow or not is a big if, but this horse has a lot of talent and will be running on.
Villa Verde: This horse ran on really well in the Slipper and looks ideally placed at the 1400m. Fillies have a pretty good record in the Sires’ and this particular filly has so much talent and she will have taken great benefit from her two starts to date in Sydney. There is just something about this filly; she has beaten Overreach in the past and she clearly has a multitude of talent.
Shahad: This filly is by a super sire and out of a mare that the super sire just failed to run past in the 2005 T.J. Smith at Randwick. Fastnet Rock and Shamekha (Shahad’s parents) were both super race horses; if Shahad is half as good as her parents she will be a super horse in the future. James McDonald got, as Gai puts it ‘a right old bullocking’ for his ride on this filly at her last start where she was beaten by an inch. She is a very long and lean filly and will love the extra distance and young James will not be getting as far back this week as he did last time.
Overreach: When the richest two-year-old race in the world is over after three strides, you know you have a good horse. Overreach was dominant in the Slipper lead ups and was just as devastating in the Slipper. If she arrives at Randwick in good order she is very close to a good thing. The best horse usually wins with even luck at level weights.
Verdict: Gai has a vice-like grip on this race due to the biggest threat to Overreach appearing to be Shahad.
3rd. Villa Verde
By Zeb Armstrong