Melbourne trainer Mick Price has strengthened his hold on the Golden Slipper with luck deserting the Godolphin team at the barrier draw.
Unlike the Blue Diamond Stakes in which the Price-trained duo Extreme Choice and Flying Artie had to overcome barriers 11 and 15 respectively to run the quinella, the two have drawn single-figure gates for Saturday’s $3.5 million Slipper at Rosehill.
Godolphin’s main hope Astern drew the outside in the field of 16 plus one emergency while stablemates Telperion and Calliope have 12 and 15 respectively.
“Barrier 17 is no help, but he has plenty of tactical speed and there have been plenty of winners from wide gates,” O’Shea said.
“He has class, ability and determination.
“We can do nothing about the barriers. We just have to accept it and trust we have the horses as fit and ready as we can.”
Last year’s winner Vancouver came from the outside alley and his trainer Gai Waterhouse was unperturbed by barrier 16 for Scarlet Rain with her other runner, Kiss And Make Up, drawn in nine.
“Both horses go forward,” she said.
“Scarlet Rain is unbeaten. She will go to the front and be going like that all the way up the straight.”
With Vancouver’s win, Waterhouse equalled the record of six Golden Slippers set by her father, the late TJ Smith.
She said Kiss And Make Up reminded her of her third winner, Sebring, in 2008.
Sebring drew five and got shuffled back, something she is hoping to avoid on Saturday.
“You get back in the field and anything can happen,” Waterhouse said.
“Glen Boss was able to breath in and get through.
Like most, Waterhouse believes Extreme Choice and Flying Artie are the obvious dangers.
“You’ve got to be very respectful to the Melbourne horses, but they’ve peaked, and they have to peak again,” she said.
“I haven’t peaked yet.”
Extreme Choice, who starts from barrier seven, is steady as the TAB’s $2.80 favourite with Flying Artie firming from $6 to $5 after drawing gate five.
Astern eased from $8 to $9.50 while former favourite Capitalist came in from $11 to $9.50 after drawing barrier two.
Reisling Stakes winner French Fern is the $201 outsider in the field.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au