First staged in 1964 and won by a freakish horse called Eskimo Prince when run over 800m, this race had lost a bit of its lustre in recent years, particularly as a guide to the nation’s richest 2yo race the Golden Slipper. There has been a renaissance of sorts in the past 3 years though, with 2 of its winners (Pierro & Mossfun) capturing the 2012 & 2014 edition of that race. Quite incredibly the last horse to complete the double was Luskin Star in 1977 (race was 900m then), and only 5 have managed to do so in its 51 year history. Distances of this race varied in the early years between 800m and 1000m, but the 1100m trip has been in force since 1984 to the current day.
This looks an exceptional quality race this year, with some very smart 2 year olds engaged, that look capable of winning the Golden Slipper again. And we could see firm footing ensue, which would make a pleasant change to the wet tracks encountered at Rosehill 3 years in succession.
Below are the past 12 winners of the race. Gender, Sire, Barrier & position in run (early and on turn) are shown in that order beside each horse;
- 2014 Mossfun 2f Mossman (7) 2-2
- 2013 Sweet Idea 2f Snitzel (2) 3-3
- 2012 Pierro 2C Lonhro (5) 7-6
- 2011 Satin Shoes 2f Flying Spur (6) 1-2
- 2010 Chance Bye 2f Snitzel (8) 1-1
- 2009 Meilto 2f Redoute’s Choice (2) 2-2
- 2008 Amelia’s Dream 2f Redoute’s Choice (1) 1-1
- 2007 Shaft 2c Flying Spur (8) 4-4
- 2006 Plagiarize 2f Stravinsky (5) 5-4
- 2005 Domesday 2c Red Ransom (5) 4-4
- 2004 Ballybleue 2f Peintre Celebre (8) 6-6
- 2003 Hasna 2f Snippets (4) 5-6
- Fillies have won 9 of past 12 which is way above normal expectations.
- Breeding- 6/12 sired by Sons or Grandsons of the great sprinting sire Danehill. Dam of last year’s winner Mossfun was a daughter or Snitzel, and that sire was a son a Snippets’ Dam (Snippet’s Lass). Snippets sired 2003 winner Hasna. 2006 winner Plagiarize’s second dam Rolls was the mother of Flying Spur, sire of 2007 winner shaft. So there are some very strong Danehill/Snippets bloodlines in these winners.
- 9/12 settled no worse than midfield in the early stages of the race
- 8/12 came out of the stable of either Gai Waterhouse (4) or (John) Hawkes ($)
- Barriers of no real consequence, although nothing has won outside of #8
- 9/12 finished 1st or 2nd at their prior start and one (Shaft) won on debut.
1. MISHANI HONCHO is a Qld youngster venturing to Sydney under the tutelage of trainer Les Ross. He ran below par as favourite last start but conceded weight to the others and got back in a slowly run race. He was to spell after that but a decision has been made to travel him and see what transpires. In my opinion he is very underrated in the market given he beat a horse called Right Of Way by 4.5L two starts back. That horse ran second to Paceman prior and it is one of the favourites in this race. This horse is 6 times his price. Les Ross has ventured to Sydney in the past and won the Randwick Shorts with Black Ink. Historically he has a few flaws but he has more race experience than any other runner by far and his jockey Chris Whitely is a bit of a genius getting horses to settle back and finish off their races well. This one is that type of horse so I’m expecting a decent performance at big odds.
2. HOLLER – Scratched
3. PACEMAN won on debut back in November at this track and distance. The time was moderate in comparison to Dothraki (BM95) but his last 600m was superior and that was the impressive part of his race. In fact he was ultra-impressive, coming from just off the pace and having the race in his keeping just after turning for home. You just don’t see a 2 year old win as arrogantly as he did that day, particularly from in behind the leaders. He could have won by a lot further and thus could have run faster time. The standard of his opposition that day looks very questionable, but he had ‘panels’ on them He looks like the ideal Golden Slipper type and is going to be awfully hard to beat here if he can cope with some better opposition. He is a little ‘unfashionably bred by Duporth but that sire is a son of Red Ransom who fathered Domesday to win this. And his Dam Snaps is by Flying Spur.
4. VOILIER produced a workmanlike performance to win on debut here at this track and distance on Slow going. The overall time was almost identical to that of Paceman who won on a good surface a month or so earlier, albeit the last 600m was way inferior. Runner up Zoutenant hasn’t set the world on fire though fourth placed Right Already (7L in arrears) got within 3L of Ottoman at her next start. He is the hardest to assess here and the market doesn’t consider him one of the leading chances. His sire is a grandson of Danehill so breeding is a plus historically as is his ability to race on the pace. Value chance and a wet track would bring him right into calculations.
5. HEADWATER won like a good horse on debut at Moonee Valley in December where he absorbed some pressure in the lead. His time didn’t compare with the older Mares at the same distance that night, but he won with some authority, and the form out of the race is very solid. Runner up Stoker has placed and won since at Sandown, and he ran very similar overall time to impressive 3yo winner Runway Star at the same distance that day. Fourth placed Haybah won subsequently, and then very nearly beat Blue Diamond favourite Fontiton, before another meritorious close 2nd to Thurlow at Sandown. These formlines are gold; he is out of the Hawkes stable, and sired by a son of Danehill (Exceed And Excel). His Dam River Dove won an Oakleigh Plate, and he can race on the pace.Really there isn’t a negative in sight apart from the fact he has to race the Sydney direction for the first time. The stable have a good record doing so though.
6. OTTOMAN produced an astounding win on debut from last on the turn. That is something you don’t see too many 2yo’s do early in their career, and she might be something special. Formlines out of the race are a bit mixed given the runner up Miss idyllic was miles off them in the Gold Coast Magic Millions subsequently. Third placed Pride Of Dubai ran a bottler in a Blue Diamond prelude since, albeit the time of that race didn’t compare favourably to Fontiton in the Fillies division. Historically she looks the one, given she is a filly out of Exceed And Excel (like Headwater), but one suspects she won’t be able to win from last in this field. If she can stay in touch she may well win, but the barrier doesn’t do her any favours in that regard.
7. ALART faces a massive task coming off a Dubbo win over 1000m but at least she beat the time of older horses in 2 races at the same distance that day. The form of those she beat had been ordinary though, and her breeding doesn’t inspire in regard to the history of this race. If she wins it would be a major shock, but her fitness levels are a bonus, and she isn’t the worst roughie I have ever seen,
8. SNITZEL’S GODDESS Won on debut at Canberra over 1000m in January but the time was only average on a comparative basis, and this is a massive step up in class for her. She was a bit erratic last start and a Lugging Bit goes on her for this. She did win a barrier trial at Warwick Farm prior to the debut run and he sired by Snitzel (grandson of Danehill) who has produced 2 of the last 5 winners of the race. She is an interesting runner who could give some cheek up on the pace.
This is a fascinating 2 year old race which is almost impossible to pick given the depth and quality of form coming in. I’ll categorize that quality to muddy the waters a little more!
History – OTTOMAN
Formlines – HEADWATER
Video Eyecatcher – PACEMAN
Wet Track – VOILIER
Fitness– MISANI HONCHO
As I write this I have just noticed Holler has been scratched. That is interesting given the stablemate filly Ottoman is the sole representative now for the Godolphin operation. But ironically it takes some pace out of the race, which could suit the likes of Headwater, Voilier & Paceman.
For the sake of a selection I would lean the way of HEADWATER given his formlines. He should race right on the pace, has the right breeding, and is from a stable that has tasted success in this race on numerous occasions. That is very good historically though the filly Ottoman looks just as likely in that regard. Very hard to get that debut win of Paceman out of my head though. What a race!