Kerrin McEvoy last tasted Slipper success with Sepoy in 2011PICTURE: Getty Images
McEvoy hoping for more Slipper joy with Sidestep
Preview: Australia, Saturday 6.00am BST (live on ATR)
Rosehill: Tooheys New Golden Slipper (Group 1) 6f, turf, 2yo
DARLEY'S number one jockey Kerrin McEvoy will ride Sidestep in the world's richest two-year-old race after making a late switch from his intended mount and stablemate Guelph.
Sidestep only booked his place in the Slipper after landing the Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes over course and distance last weekend, in the process doing enough to pursued McEvoy to renew the partnership on Saturday.
"Guelph was going to be my Slipper ride," the jockey told an Australian Turf Club Golden Slipper function on Thursday. "But it was a case of how Sidestep won and how he pulled up."
Sidestep convinced the Darley team he should join stablemates Guelph and Kuroshio in Saturday's race after scoring with authority and the stable reports he has taken no harm from the win but he will wear blinkers for the first time on Saturday.
"He's had the blinkers on a few times this week and I've just got a quiet feeling he is peaking at the right time," said McEvoy, who last tasted Slipper success with Sepoy in 2011. He added: "There is a sense of timing about his preparation."
Sidestep occupies the second line of Slipper betting at $9 while Guelph, the mount of Christian Reith, is at $21 and Kuroshio (Josh Parr) is one of the outsiders at $101.
Golden Slipper Day was a memorable one for Gai Waterhouse last year and it promises to be even better this time around.
At the corresponding meeting 12 months ago, Waterhouse claimed the $3.5 million Golden Slipper with Pierro, while More Joyous put the icing on the cake with back-to-back Queen Of The Turf Stakes victories.
On Saturday, Waterhouse will be represented by favourites in three of the five Group 1 races.
In the Slipper, Waterhouse will saddle up two of the top three chances in the betting - $2.40 favourite Overreach and $10 chance Sweet Idea with Whittington ($21) completing her team.
Rosehill: Queen Of The Turf Stakes (Group 1) 7½f 3yo+ fillies/mares
More Joyous returns for a third shot at the Queen Of The Turf and has a stranglehold on the market as the $1.38 favourite.
Coolmore Classic runner-up Red Tracer ($8.50) is the only other mare at single-figure odds and her trainer Chris Waller would be buoyant about her chances if it wasn't for the presence of the favourite.
"You could say weight-for-age will suit her but then you've got More Joyous," Waller said.
"It's going to be hard. She hasn't got the draw she had in the Coolmore. She had barrier one there and got every favour.
"We might just ride her a bit negatively and give her a chance to get some cover and finish the race off."
Red Tracer has drawn barrier ten in the field of 11 but the rain-affected track will enhance her chances.
Rosehill was downgraded to slow on Thursday and while More Joyous handles those conditions she has failed in two runs on heavy tracks.
Red Tracer loves the mud and is undefeated on heavy ground.
The BMW (Group 1) 1m4f, 3yo+
The Group 1 BMW will be a pivotal race for Kelinni as he strives to prove his effectiveness at weight-for-age.
Kelinni established himself as one of the country's top stayers under handicap conditions last spring when he was placed in the Metropolitan, won the Lexus Stakes and was fourth in the Melbourne Cup.
All were over distances of 2400 metres (1m4f) or further and on Saturday at Rosehill, the Chris Waller-trained gelding will get out to a genuine staying trip for the first time this campaign, albeit under weight-for-age conditions.
"Saturday will tell us a lot. I was planning on running him in this race and then putting him away," Waller said.
"But if he doesn't run well we can press on to the Sydney Cup because we know he stays the distance and he handles handicap conditions."
George Ryder Stakes (Group 1) 7½f
Craig Williams will use Saturday's George Ryder Stakes to test Rebel Dane as a possible Doncaster Mile mount.
The jury is out on whether the colt runs a strong mile with his only test at the trip coming last start in the Randwick Guineas when he finished fourth to It's A Dundeel.
Trainer Gary Portelli says the feedback from Williams in the aftermath of Saturday's George Ryder will all but determine whether Rebel Dane presses on to the Doncaster in which he has 52kg.
"Saturday is a big test for us going forward," Portelli said.
"Craig Williams wants to get a feel of him looking at the Doncaster.
"If Craig doesn't think he can get a strong mile and doesn't want to ride him in it, then that will probably tell us what we do."
Rebel Dane ran Pierro to a short head in the Hobartville Stakes two starts ago.
That was his only defeat at the western Sydney track where he has posted three of his four wins.
Portelli is banking on a return to Rosehill sparking his charge back to form, although Pierro again looms as a stumbling block.
Portelli isn't expecting Rebel Dane beat the odds-on favourite but he is hoping his colt can test him.
"Pierro, that's a daunting task," Portelli said.