Golden Slipper day is one of the best on the racing calendar, with five Group 1s across the card and a host of starts on show.
While the main event is the Slipper itself to crown the two-year-old sprinting champion, the world’s best horse Winx is also on show in the George Ryder, while a new champion of the turf The Autumn Sun will be sent out at odds on in the Rosehill Guineas.
Of course the action isn’t limited to Rosehill, with Mornington Cup Day and a competitive card at Eagle Farm as well.
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Track: Heavy 8 (Thursday 9am)
Rail: +3m entire.
Weather: Light, scattered showers.
Golden Slipper day is one of the best on the racing calendar, but it wouldn’t be a Sydney autumn carnival without the threat of a bottomless track. Thankfully we should be improving to around the Soft 7 mark come race day. It seems likely that as the day progresses, off fence will be the better ground.
Speed map/race shape: Sweet Scandal should cross In Good Time and Mollyfied to lead the G3 Birthday Card, but we suspect they won’t go too hard here with uncertainty over where the best ground lies.
Advantaged runners: Some impressive wet track figures among this lot. SWEET SCANDAL was only beaten 1.5L in a frantic Weona Girl, should could get all the favours. RESIN ran past her aided by the pace but was only first up, while STAR REFLECTION was on their tails. The Kiwi ADVANTAGE boasts an impressive record and is unbeaten in the wet, she’ll be poised to strike. SHE KNOWS is on the back up from last week where she gave Easy Eddie a scare.
Speed map/race shape: Classique Legend is a bold striding grey and will look to cross and be prominent from a wide alley. He won’t have to work too hard with only Jonker and Yulong January (if here) keen to go forward with him. That will give Charge a nice cart across too.
Advantaged runners: The wraps on CLASSIQUE LEGEND are huge and he’s beautifully placed here by Les Bridge. He’s already ticked the wet track box and can control this affair. The best credentialed challenger is GEM SONG but he may be awkwardly placed in the run and have too much to do. This prep has been a bit stop-start for him. JONKER’s wet form is better than it reads and his most recent run brings PROPHET’S THUMB into the equation.
Speed map/race shape: The G3 Manion Cup over 2400m will reveal how much of a slog it is getting through this track. Big Blue is the expected leader with Rodrico, Midterm and Etymology slotting in. Anticipating a muddling tempo, so mid-race moves would not shock.
Advantaged runners: Difficult to get overly excited about this one, but there’s still a winner to be found. Of the main contenders, BIG DUKE is third up and loves the wet, but he was soundly beaten home by SHRAAOH last start. Kiwi stablemates VIN DE DANCE and ZACADA are back, the former drops down from Group 1 company while the latter nearly stole the Sydney Cup last year. Old mate ETYMOLOGY is back after a failed Tasmanian raid, while MIDTERM is a fitness query. Lloyd’s lot aren’t going that well at the moment.
Speed map/race shape: The map looks a little uncertain. On previous runs you’d have Yulong Tavion kicking up to lead Arrogant and Chapada close by. Don’t be surprised to see the other fit Kiwi raiders race forward and test out the Aussies.
Advantaged runners: Don’t you just love when a card is so good that there’s a Group 1 by Race 4? The Guineas market revolves around The Autumn Sun at $1.50. He’s not a twos on chance in our book but he’ll be in every rec multi in the country so the price should hold up. He’s a brilliant horse but has never tried 2000m before. In any case, he’s got the local brigade covered but the Kiwis might give his backers more than a fright. MADISON COUNTY is a brilliant miler but also untested at this trip. Then there’s the NZ Derby (2400m) runners, back in trip and fit. CROWN PROSECUTOR was the 100/1 winner there but SURELY SACRED probably presents the best case.
Speed map/race shape: Just eight runners left for the G1 George Ryder after the early scratching. We expect Prompt Response to be joined by Dreamforce in front, with Brutal and perhaps Teleplay behind. Winx will be out the back and rolling into it early.
Advantaged runners: From an up-and-coming champion to the best in the world. Winx will make it 32 on the fly here, it is just a matter of how far. The wet only enhances her chances. There’s no Happy Clapper here to make things exciting (shame, because he would’ve picked up good prizemoney for second again) so lets go with BRUTAL for second, he was pretty good in the Canterbury Stakes and is third up here. No knock on LAND OF PLENTY who is a genuine Group 1 horse, nor PROMPT RESPONSE or RINGERDINGDING. Just enjoy this one.
Speed map/race shape: The lack of early pace in the G1 Ranvet makes things easier for Ace High to cross from the awkward outside alley over the 2000m start. He’ll make the running alongside The Taj Mahal. Almandin, Danzdanzdance and Sikandarabad will all be close by.
Advantaged runners: There will be question marks over AVILIUS coming into this after an inconclusive Australian Cup failure. He loomed up but peaked when he looked to have the race shot to bits. Runner up SHILLELAGH missed by a whisker there and perhaps that was her target race, which makes stablemate UNFORGOTTEN the best chance of the Waller quintet. She’s third up and ready to peak, but still somewhat unknown in the wet. Then there’s the Kiwis – DANZDANZDANCE will eat up the ground and arrives off a big Group 1 performance, while former UK horse HE’S EMINENT creates all sorts of interest. Watch 2016 Group 1 winner ALMANDIN closely in betting, he appreciates the sting out.
Speed map/race shape: The G1 Golden Slipper is always a high pressure race and there is a good portion of speed drawn wide out in this renewal. The emergency Bellevue Hill requires three scratchings to gain a start but if she does, she can cross over with the likes of Free Of Debt, Kiamichi and Vincere Volare to lead. Those drawn in the inside half including Anaheed, Cosmic Force, Microphone and Time To Reign will all jostle for cosy trailing positions behind the speed. Expect the one-off and three-wide lines to be the ideal position in running.
Advantaged runners: Whichever way you look at it, this is another cracking edition of the Slipper. Cases can be made for a dozen of these but a demonstrated ability to cope with pressure and a Soft/Heavy surface is key. For that reason, COSMIC FORCE looks hard to beat, coming off a seven-length romp in the Pago Pago. He is tough, travels soundly and will be poised to strike in the run. He’s also been very well backed all week. Note MICROPHONE beat him in the Skyline so that ties in nicely.
It is interesting to note that the last eight Slipper winners have come via the Reisling or Todman Stakes (both run 14 days ago at Randwick), making them prime form references. From the fillies division, Reisling winner TENLEY is certainly the one who has created the biggest impression. But like Todman winner YES YES YES, both will be a long way back in the run and needing to do plenty of work. Out of those events, ANAHEED is perhaps best placed to turn the tables, given her luckless run throughout.
The Blue Diamond form should not be discounted either. That brings the trifecta there LYRE, LANKAN STAR and FREE OF DEBT right into calculations, while CATCH ME looks to be back on track. The blow out is devastating Black Opal winner PIN SEC. Cracking race!
Speed map/race shape: The Group 1 action just keeps coming. There’s 13 acceptors for The Galaxy and half a dozen want to lead or be close to it. The likely story is Ball Of Muscle and Nature Strip take it up, while Jungle Edge and Redzel stalk them. From the widest alleys, Easy Eddie and Baller may need to be content with slotting in but they may even elect to form a three-wide line instead. Don’t forget that Graff tried to match it with Sunlight in the Newmarket, either.
Advantaged runners: This really will be a brutally run race. REDZEL is a tricky one to deal with despite mapping for a great run. We feel he was a little unlucky first up when they turned for home but BALL OF MUSCLE was just too tough. The Everest winner is also carrying a big weight here. NATURE STRIP is the ratings darling but a prime candidate to compound late in this high pressure event. Great to see the colt GRAFF take his place, he’s been enormous at two runs this time in and is ready to take a big scalp. PIERATA left it all a bit too late first up, while JUNGLE EDGE will lap up the ground. VIRIDINE ran third here 12 months ago and was gelded before his big first up run in the Challenge Stakes.
Speed map/race shape: Thirteen mares and two fillies for the G3 Epona to round out the card. Luskintyre Lass should be rolling to the front from a wide draw with Eugene’s Pick following her over for company. Each of Happy Every Day, Jungle Fish and Semari can race handily too.
Advantaged runners: Lots of respect in early markets for Victorian midweek form, which is intriguing. Both JUNGLE FISH and SEMARI have begun making a habit of winning but this is sizeable step up – at least they’ll both race in prominent positions. The primary Sydney form reference is the G3 Aspiration, with third through eighth across the line there (all beaten less than 3.5L) entered here. LUSKINTYRE LASS was favourite there, first across the line of the group reengaged here and should get a soft lead throughout. EUGENE’S PICK and HARMATTAN are the pick of the others from that form line and will feature prominently.
Track: Good 4
Rail: True entire.
Weather: Fine until race day, possible Saturday shower
Mornington Cup day brings with it a nine-race card and a trouble-free preparation for the track staff as far as weather is concerned. The track should play relatively fairly, although the abnormal configuration sometimes creates a slight run-on bias.
Speed map/race shape: A few eager leaders engaged in the first. Any of Esposito Gold, Hokkaido, North Afrika or Pria Eclipse could lead this with the likes of All Too Huying, Kaching and Never Again slotting in to midfield positions.
Advantaged runners: The tempo will be on early, so we’ll find out how kind this track is for those looking to make ground. BATTLECAMP will be looking to do just that. Third up and rising to 1600m is an ideal set up and he was deceptively impressive last time out. MACLAIREY is the other one to look out for, he ran pipped KACHING for second late at Bendigo. That galloper is struggling to win but will enjoy the relief of Nugent’s claim.
Speed map/race shape: The Mornington 1000m course is quite unique, being two turns in five furlongs. Horses who have appreciated the Moonee Valley sprint will enjoy this. Star Fall and Our Gladiator should be the quickest early, while The Centaurian is a chance of getting caught outside them if he can’t slot in outside of Moor Wanted or Miss Leonidas.
Advantaged runners: If STAR FALL’s path to the front is relatively pain free, he could take some catching. The Zoustar colt has won four from seven and been freshened since a rare defeat in Sydney. MISS LEONIDAS typically likes to lead but may not get there if OUR GLADIATOR pings out – that said she took on tougher events in the Spring and can win first up here. Of course if it is on for young and old here then MISS TOORAK FLYER could come bounding right over the top.
Speed map/race shape: Pace comes from the middle and wider and from the 1200m start, they might have to work that little bit harder to cross. Every chance that Lauchetti keeps pressing on until she gets right around Enigman and Call It A Day to lead, dragging Island Daze with her.
Advantaged runners: Approximately 80% of early markets are taken up by on-pacers who could get engaged in a speed battle. Of them ENIGMAN presents the strongest case, he was a good winner at Caulfield two back against better and uses Nugent’s claim to good effect. CALL IT A DAY is a big Mornington fan (4-2:2) and this unfolds relatively well for him. He last ran second in a race where I’M TELLING YA blew out the cobwebs at his first start in 14 months – he’ll be closer here. ISLAND DAZE brings great form but will need to be tough.
Speed map/race shape: Girls only over the 1200m and Jentico can forge a relatively comfortable path to the front from Kootara, with Niamh Chinn Oir and Prahaar slotting in comfortably behind. The key pair Music Bay and Tahitian Dancer get ideal midfield runs.
Advantaged runners: This is by no means a two-horse race but there’s two pretty talented ones atop the early markets. MUSIC BAY was beaten at long odds on first up in strange circumstances. Regardless, the extra 200m here is crucial and the form lines from the Spring make for good reading. The problem is she may get caught inside TAHITIAN DANCER when looking to make a run. This filly brings Mystic Journey form out of her Spring campaign and looked sharp in a recent trial. It is hard to see PRIVATE LOUNGE running past them from the rear but JENTICO is a chance to give some cheek on the pace.
Speed map/race shape: A decent 300m or so run to the first turn should give the likes of Legionnaire and Cielo Stellato time to cross over early. Vinco is up sharply in trip and may settle handier than last time, with Really Discreet on his back.
Advantaged runners: Small field of two-year-olds for the Mornington Sires, with just two of them having three or more starts to their name. Regardless, REALLY DISCREET brings the strongest form to the table, being a debut win before a torrid run when fancied in a high rating VRC Sires. POWER SCHEME significantly out-performed market expectation in that race and will be running on here as well. VINCO was third in the Adelaide Magic Millions over 1200m and may appreciate further, while PIERRO ROSE stays under notice after tackling a hot race at Newcastle.
Speed map/race shape: They’ll do a full lap here over the 2000m course and the speed comed from down low, so the tempo may only be steady. The Willybe and Refectory should lead from Brigadier and Mitrust – they’ve all drawn barrier five or lower.
Advantaged runners: The pace-setters are all rougher hopes, and those with the best set ups also map for advantageous midfield runs. STEEL PRINCE finished last prep with six straight quinella finishes at 2400m+ and picked up where he left off at Sandown first up this time in work. He’ll likely drag THUNDER CLOUD into the race, who was third up when placing over this trip at Flemington. SOPRESSA, ANDREA MANTEGNA and O’LONERA will all be running on as well and ready to pounce on and slip ups from the favourites.
Speed map/race shape: Not a whole lot of natural speed in the Mornington Cup, which should allow Trap For Fools to control this tempo comfortably. Tarquin and Ventura Storm can settle handy, but it is doubtful they’ll put too much pressure on the front runner.
Advantaged runners: TRAP FOR FOOLS is yet to tick the 2400m box but if he does, he may be might hard to run down here. His form through the Australian Cup (3rd) and Peter Young (2nd) is clearly the strongest here. Last time at this distance range he was overhauled by VENTURA STORM who presents here third up, but needs a good ride from Childs after drawing awkwardly. STARS OF CARRUM is the up-and-comer who went within a length of a Derby win in the Spring and recently was strong to the line in the Alister Clark. He’ll be trying to replicate that last effort here, as will HANG MAN who scored at Flemington after a peach of a ride from Ollie.
Speed map/race shape: Big field in the Hareeba and lots of pressure on. We can count nine that wouldn’t be upset by landing in front but from wide out Ashlor, I’m Wesley and Manuel will all likely press on, with Milwaukee, Moonlover and Mystyko handy.
Advantaged runners: They’ll need a clear passage but there’s a few of these that will be keen to slingshot out wide and storm over the top. BONS AWAY is the prime candidate after some top efforts at Caulfield this prep, he pulled up with an issue in the Newmarket so that can be forgiven. MANOLO BLAHNIQ is another who will enjoy the tempo and his fresh form has been excellent in recent preps. Of those likely to race nearer to the pace, MANUEL brings excellent 1400m Group 1 form which will stand him in good stead here fitness wise, while GLENALL will also enjoy the sharp drop from the top grade.
Speed map/race shape: The tempo in the last will be solid enough, courtesy of speed from Stryker Queen and Duke Of Magnus from the outside gate, who can lead from Firstclass Dreamer, Esthetic and Ridgewood Drive.
Advantaged runners: We finish the day with the Mornington Guineas and a couple of key contenders look like fighting this one out. MR QUICKIE is the early even money favourite with the picket fence standing at five straight, so you don’t need us to tell you he’s good. Extra fitness and distance here are both positives and he just needs to settle midfield to be the one to beat. Of course STAR MISSLE has also made an impression, most recently scoring a dominant win against the older horses at Cranbourne. He may well need to run past Mr Quickie which will be difficult. STAROUZ’s Adelaide win earns him respect in this field while the Oaks filly SIZZLEME can improve sharply here.
Track: Good 4
Rail: True Entire
Hats off to the team preparing the Eagle Farm track, after substantial rain of late we’re still playing on a Good 4. Nine races on the card, the highlight being the rescheduled 3YO Jewel.
Speed map/race shape: All bar two horses in this field are stepping up to 1400m here. Hit Snooze can lead from the inside with Raingurl close by, then Girls Are Ready and Deck Of Aces can slot in behind them. Sizzling Babe’s draw will allow her to race off the fence.
Advantaged runners: The only 1400m form line for these two-year-olds sees the quinella from a fortnight ago return for another crack. SIZZLING BABE was a dominant winner, she tracked into it nicely and extended like a handy one. She ran down RAINGURL who was clearly no match but did hold off the other closers. GIRLS ARE READY is the main challenger to the favourite, she struggled in last week’s rich 2YO Jewel event but was well fancied and can atone. MAGIC BEANS has previously beaten Sizzling Babe and will likely assume a more prominent position than her in running.
Speed map/race shape: Pretty straightforward here for the staying race, with Lucadeal and Borazon using low draws to lead from Mullaghmore and Curse Free. Marshall will need to make an assertive early decision on Expert Reply, which could inject pace?
Advantaged runners: A few new arrivals in this week’s three-year-old distance brigade, but the best form still comes through the corresponding race a fortnight ago. TACTEEE and BORAZON get minor weight swings on MULLAGHMORE for finishing approx. two lengths behind him in that event over 1840m. TACTEE led that one in a decent tempo but if she settles off-pace here suspect she is the strongest of them all. LUCADEAL won on the same day at the Gold Coast and while he looks like he’ll lap up the trip, the strength of the form is doubtful.
Speed map/race shape: Huge field, wide open market and plenty of pace. Suliven and Von Richter will need a compass to find their way over from out wide but they can join Sidetrip (if he gets a start) in front. Luck may play a part in navigating a clear run.
Advantaged runners: Some of these field sizes at Eagle Farm are magnificent. Sixteen plus eight emergencies for a 1500m Benchmark 70! A few leading contenders may be a fair way back, including BENFICA PRINCESS who nabbed FRANCISCA on the line here a fortnight ago. BELLE ROC is the lightly-raced improver but will be in a traffic jam. Settling a little closer may be PONYTALES who gets a nice drop in class on the back of consecutive runner up finishes. Both SEAHAMPTON and the leader SULIVEN arrive off wins but tackle harder here.
Speed map/race shape: The same field and barriers from last week’s abandoned 3YO Jewel are carried over here. They won’t dawdle in front with Spirit’s Choice and Gypsy Toff the main contenders to lead, but a case could be made for another half dozen to find the top.
Advantaged runners: DEFENCE MISSILE draws for an identical box seat run to his last start when failing to run down MISHANI HUSTLER. Fancy the tables are turned today. SPIRIT’S CHOICE continues to prove too fast at provincial level but may not have enough gas in the tank to repeat in the metros. MACEWEN and BAREFOOT will be out the back and charging home which might be a favourable pattern later in the day.
Speed map/race shape: At risk of sounding like a broken record, the speed will be on with many candidates for the front. Silver Melody and Zoom By are lead-at-all-costs types and they’ll jostle with the likes of Pizonie, Munich, Frangipani Moon and Rock Beat for the front.
Advantaged runners: Half the field are resuming here, but there’s some pretty promising types. Consecutive seconds to Zoustyle and Outback Barbie last prep position JAMI LADY as very hard to beat first up here. She’ll follow that hot tempo and just needs the seas to part at the home turn. It is a similar story for USMANOV who will likely race in close quarters to the toppy, albeit his exposed form isn’t quite as impressive. A recent trial was sizzling and he’s ready to win again. If PIZONIE and FRANGIPANI MOON don’t get towelled up in front they both have winning hopes.
Speed map/race shape: An interesting scenario where the major pace-setters in Whycatchin and I’ve Gotta Nel are the fifth and sixth emergencies. If they don’t get a run, Expect From Within to cross from wide and lead, with Mr Marbellouz in the box seat.
Advantaged runners: Very interesting to see MR MARBELLOUZ dropped back to 1000m after he missed Saturday’s run when the meeting was abandoned. He gets all the favours here and will go around long odds on if WHYCATCHIM doesn’t run. That horse is a speedy customer who will run them along. Fair play to FROM WITHIN who had a crack at the Oakleigh Plate, she won’t know herself back here. Kris Lees sends GUARD OF HONOUR north for a fresh run and he’s one to look for closing off late along with JADENTOM.
Speed map/race shape: Intriguing 1800m affair where keen leader Kubis gets every chance to do just that from the inside alley, with the interesting starting point right on the turn. Remarkable Son, Reiby The Red and Get Stuck Inwill both be prominent.
Advantaged runners: The speed map seems to have the favourite GET STUCK IN comfortably slotting into a forward position and from there he’ll be hard to hold out. We’ll get a line on his form through Ponytales in Race 3 who he’s beaten as his last two. Waller has three entered here, perhaps SHADAL is the best placed. He never got a crack at this favourite last time. DECONSTRUCTED flew home first up behind Tumbler and is quickly up in trip, whhile KUBIS and REIBY THE RED are in winning form and can be prominent from on-pace positions.
Speed map/race shape: Sword Of Justice only knows one way and he’ll try and roll to the front and make it three all-the-way wins in a row. Jakuta and Impasse will be up there too and perhaps The Lord Mayor can be handy.
Advantaged runners: This may be an on-pace dominated race and for that reason SWORD OF JUSTICE is well placed to repeat the dose. He was a big distance query in the eyes of this judge last time but proved too good and its hard to see the others from that event turning the tables. The other main form reference is the Tumbler race from a fortnight ago, IMPASSE was nabbed late and with extra fitness third up is the one to follow from that event. From a completely different form line is THE LORD MAYOR who has 2000m+ credentials, and if fit can show up here after being unsuited in the Newcastle Newmarket.
Speed map/race shape: Langhro should use the inside gate to advantage in this and kick through and lead from Tabbing and Cool Sequence. Hirtshals and Lord Barrington, if he gains a start, won’t be far away either.
Advantaged runners: Great race to end the day but difficult to sort them out. SPIN is highly regarded after coming through good Sydney form, the Snowdens haven’t sent him up here for a track gallop. CURDLED is unbeaten this preparation and won at this grade and distance six weeks back, he gets a soft run behind the speed and just needs the seas to part. TAWFIQ BOY is another who missed the run last week when the Gold Coast was called off and if still wound up he’s a big chance third up. Both MANAYA and SHOGUN SUN have chances on form but will be back and wide, they have the ability but a win will be heart-stopping.