From slippery Slipper to sunny Slipper and an even bigger race day

Rosehill Gardens
A sunnier Rosehill Gardens ahead of the Golden Slipper (Photo: Liam Gilleland)

MARCH 26: Take Two. The sun is shining, the track is drying and the countdown is on.

Australia’s biggest day of Group 1 racing, including the 2021 Golden Slipper, is back on.

What was deemed to be too slippery a Slipper last week, is now forecast to be a partly cloudy day at Sydney’s Rosehill Gardens – with a top of 27 degrees and only a five per cent chance of rain.

The Australian Turf Club (ATC) declared the track a Heavy 8 this morning (Friday) while jockey Adrian Layt shared on social media: “I galloped on it [the track] this morning… it’ll be a [soft] 7 if not a [soft] 6 tomorrow with good weather today.”

Besides the Golden Slipper, there are more acceptances for all races. That means barriers have been redrawn to allow for the inclusion of even bigger names.

Racecourse track ratings, (Graphic: Liam Gilleland)

Trainer Mark Newnham has been left baffled, after the chances of his horse Splintex winning The Galaxy, quickly moved out-of-reach: “Last week I was in the race with a good barrier (5), and this week I’m in with an outside barrier (14) – so my chances are greatly diminished.”

And in a blow for the Slipper, Chris Waller announced earlier this week that O’president would be withdrawn from the race due to an “elevated temperature”.

The Final Field

The 2021 Golden Slipper field 2021. Prices as of Friday 11am via Sportsbet. (Graphic: Liam Gilleland)

The Ranvet Stakes, which was only meant to be a race of five, has become a nine-horse field – adding to the battle between UK gelding Addeybb and Aussie mare Verry Elleegant, in what’s being hailed the Rosehill Ashes. 

With racing across the state in the last seven days limited for jockeys, there is no doubt they are keen to get back in the saddle. Sydney’s leading jockey, Tommy Berry told Racing.com: “At this time of year, you want to be racing as much as you can… at least three times a week, just to keep you in routine.”

Every horse in the day’s Group 1’s in Sydney is coming off a two-week or more back-up, except one – Race 5 #13 The Cullinan, who raced in Brisbane last week.

Off-track Aussie legend, Jon Stevens, will no longer perform after the last, as he has other commitments. Replacing him will be party band Furnace and the Fundamentals who will rock Rosehill in the old betting ring out the back, in a seated gig.

Due to having O’President on top last week I have changed my top four slightly.

My Picks

Stay Inside now slots into the top spot for me. If he got out of the pocket last start, I have no doubt he would have been the favourite for Saturday’s race. A confident jockey in Tommy Berry is always a good sign.

Unbeaten and with experience on heavy and soft ground, sees Four Moves Ahead in the second spot. The barrier is the only concern.

Glistening moves up into third. If she had experience on a wet track, she would be on top for me. If she handles the wet track she will be up there. Trainer Michael Freedman says there’s evidence the dam will enjoy the wet track.

I have added Swift Witness into my numbers. I think she is over-the-odds as she came from the clouds last start in the Reisling to just miss Glistening in a tight finish. It’s likely to be a soft track tomorrow and the filly has some of the best soft form in the race.

To have Gai Waterhouse’s runner in my top four in a Slipper is a confidence call. Can she do what Farnan did last year and go from Magic Millions mishap to Golden Slipper winner?

Profiteer, Home Affairs, Artorius and Anamoe just miss my fourth spot.

The Golden Slipper jumps at 4.30pm (AEDST).

— Story, pics and graphics, Liam Gilleland