Mother Nature must have taken a beating at some point in the recent history of the Sydney autumn carnival as she’s again taking out her frustrations on the already sodden tracks of the Harbour City. With rain continuing to soak the northern half of the state, track conditions are almost certain to stay in the heavy range for Saturday’s massive Golden Slipper meeting at Rosehill Gardens. As if it’s not hard enough to find a winner on a day featuring five Group 1s with more than AUD $8 million in prize money up for grabs. The Golden Slipper was first held in 1957. The inaugural winner Todman (ridden by Neville Sellwood) triumphed by eight lengths at the odds of 1-6!
Take on the Favourite
In the Slipper’s 60-year history, colts have won on 28 occasions with fillies close behind on 25 (seven geldings have taken out the race). Vancouver (2015) was the most recent of the 18 favourites who’ve emerged victorious. Last year’s winner Capitalist was the first two-year-old to sweep the Listed Breeders’ Plate, Gold Coast Magic Millions Classic, and Golden Slipper. Current favourite Houtzen also won the Magic Millions on the Gold Coast in January but the undefeated filly, which carried 63kg in her most recent victory, has drawn barrier 16 of 19. On firm going, she’d be some hope of crossing this big field and hanging on over a fiercely run 1200m. On a heavy track, we’re comfortable to take her on.
Edge with Hometown Runners
The fascinating aspect of this year’s Golden Slipper is that the bulk of the Sydney 2yos have exposed form on wet tracks in contrast to their Brisbane and Melbourne-based rivals. One such runner is #12 She Will Reign ($7 with Ladbrokes). Gary Portelli’s filly has had four career starts for three wins including victory in the Inglis Nursery at Randwick (1000m) on a heavy track (8). This daughter of Manhattan Rain found the wrong alley and trailed only Frolic on an even worse surface at Randwick in the Reisling (1200m) on March 4. We’re also staggered to find #5 Diamond Tathagata at $81 with William Hill. His only two starts have been on heavy tracks for a record of 2:1-1-0, including victory in the G2 Skyline at Randwick on February 25.
Can Hartnell Handle the Wet?
The first of the day’s G1 races is the $700,000 Ranvet Stakes. First held in 1903 as the Rawson Stakes (named in honour of former State Governor Sir Harry Holdsworth Rawson), this weight-for-age affair over 200m has attracted a field of eight runners. Punters expect an easy kill for Hartnell as he finally avoids Winx but we’re not so sure after he folded a long way out in the Chipping Norton on the bog (9) at Randwick. The bulk of the Melbourne horses haven’t sighted a wet track, so let’s take a couple of proven performers. #7 Antonio Giuseppe ($10 with Sportsbet) has a record of 6:4-1-0 on tracks worse than good, while #8 Sofia Rosa could run a cheeky race at odds ($26 on Crownbet).
Winx, and You’ll Miss it
In the remaining G1s, Winx will make it 16 in a row as a $1.24 top pick in the WFA $1,000,000 China Horse Club George Ryder over 1500m. Inference won the Randwick Guineas on a heavy (10) and makes a logical choice at $3.60 (with bet365) in the $600,000 Sky Racing Rosehill Guineas for the 3yos. The $700,000 Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs Galaxy (1100m) is arguably the toughest race of the day. #6 Redzel (an $8 pick with Luxbet) makes a convincing case based on the 3kg swing in weights after finishing runner-up to #3 English in the G2 Challenge at Randwick on a heavy (10). Carrying just 50kg, #14 Glenall ($18 with Ladbrokes) is worth a small play.