Andrew Hawkins runs through the lucrative Golden Slipper card at Rosehill
Saturday's card at Rosehill features five Group 1 races, headlined by the AUD$3.5 million (£1.73 million) Golden Slipper (1200m), the world's richest juvenile contest. Once the most illustrious meeting in Sydney, it is now a prelude to The Championships, Sydney's theoretical equivalent of British Champions Day.
Still, as far as breed-shaping events go in Australia, the Golden Slipper holds pole position. Since Todman beat Tulloch in the first running in 1957, the two-year-old feature has had an effect on the Australian breed unlike any other. Of Australia’s 15 homegrown sires this season (on earnings), only two weren’t targeted at the race, although both debuted later in their two-year-old season.
Therefore, among the seven colts in this year’s line-up, there is every chance the next Australian sire sensation is there. They may be unplaced, as were Snitzel, Exceed And Excel and Fastnet Rock.
The fillies have dominated the Golden Slipper of late, winning the last three and five of the last seven.
One filly who catches the eye is See You Soon, a prime example of racing’s globalisation. Trained by former harness driver, Frenchman Jean Dubois, See You Soon is only the third of Siyouni's progeny to race in Australia. She's out of the American-bred mare Soneva, a stakes winner in both France and the UAE who has already produced Qatari cult hero The Blue Eye. In addition, South African-born rider Jean Van Overmeire, who began his career in Britain, will attempt to become the first Slipper-winning apprentice since Darren Beadman in 1984.
See You Soon enters off a luckless second in one of the main lead-ups, the Reisling Stakes, when she was unsuited by the tempo and on the wrong part of the track but still flew home to be narrowly beaten.
Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Away Game and Blue Diamond Stakes winner Tagaloa are others in contention, as is the unbeaten filly Minhaaj.
The first of the Group 1 races is the 2000m Ranvet Stakes, featuring Addeybb for William Haggas. He is the early favourite on the Australian books as he meets last year's winner Avilius, racing below his best, and former Ballydoyle galloper Norway making his debut for Chris Waller.
Haggas will surely be keeping his eyes on the sky, hoping for rain. It looks unlikely to come, but it may not matter; he enters with the best credentials.
The George Ryder Stakes (1500m) was a race Winx dominated, winning the last four editions. This year, the focus is popular Kiwi galloper Te Akau Shark, a hulking chestnut coming off a thunderous Chipping Norton Stakes win. He has an exceptional turn of foot and, for those that haven't followed racing in the Antipodes, he is an excitement machine worth watching.
The three-year-olds star in the 2000m Rosehill Guineas, the second leg of Sydney's triple crown. Cox Plate placegetter Castelvecchio and Shadow Hero, who won the first leg of the triple crown, the Randwick Guineas, are joined by Victoria Derby winner Warning and New Zealand Derby winner Sherwood Forest. However, it might be worth backing Godolphin’s Chenier, who came from last to finish fourth to Alligator Blood in the Australian Guineas despite almost falling twice.
The final Group 1 is The Galaxy, an 1100m handicap. This is a race in which luck is so crucial, particularly with a short run to the first bend. Group 1 winners Pierata and In Her Time and the returning Kementari, now a gelding having proven subfertile at stud, head the weights.
In a wide-open affair, Tofane looks enticing at longer odds. She's had little luck in two starts this preparation and should enjoy the run of the race.
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