The $3.5 million Golden Slipper tops one of the biggest days in Australian racing on Saturday.
The pick of five Group 1s at Rosehill, where Winx will also be in action, a capacity field of two-year-olds will bid to add their name to the honour roll for the Golden Slipper.
Godolphin have a strong hand with six in the field and another emergency, but will the boys in blue strike?
We take a look at the highly anticipated Golden Slipper:
1. YES YES YES ($8.01): Yes Yes Yes beat all bar Brooklyn Hustle in three runs for Darren Weir. Now trained by Chris Waller, his first-up victory in the Todman Stakes (1200m) was full of merit off a good trial. His last 400m was 0.04s faster than Tenley and he will be fitter for that run. The negatives are, barrier 19 and his only look at a wet track was on a Soft 5 at Flemington which races more like a Good 4.
2. MICROPHONE ($7.01): His victory in the Talindert Stakes (1100m) at Flemington rated extremely well. He has the perfect run last start in the Skyline Stakes (1200m) and did bolt away from Cosmic Force who won so impressively last Saturday. The map is tricky from barrier one but he must be given a chance.
3. TIME TO REIGN ($14.10): He beat Tassort two starts ago in the Silver Slipper (1100m) but I doubt there was much intent to win the race with the Godolphin horse and Time To Reign got the perfect run. Last start was just awful in the Todman Stakes behind Yes Yes Yes. I’m happy to forgive one bad run with two-year-olds but I can’t talk myself into Time To Reign.
5. COSMIC FORCE ($4.61): He went to a new level last start in the Pago Pago (1200m). The questions are, he beat the C-graders and his SP profile isn’t great. He started $14 vs Microphone and $6.50 vs Bivouac who is $67 here. Was the market just that wrong about his ability? I know the stable have no issue backing him up seven-days later and he must be in the game off the win in the Pago Pago but there are just too many questions for me to get entertained at the price.
7. LYRE ($12.10): Her performance winning the Blue Diamond Stakes is the best in the race however that was her grand final and most of these Sydney 2YO’s haven’t had their grand final yet. She was very impressive winning her trial at Randwick on a Soft 7, which was her first look at a soft track. That trial suggests she hasn’t gone backwards but my gut feel is the Melbourne form is the A- form.
9. TENLEY ($6.01): She is unbeaten through three career starts and is my number one seed going into an open Golden Slipper. She was under riding at the 400m last start in the Riesling and I thought she would struggle to win. Once she got the outside, she exploded late. Barrier 6, James McDonald on are both ticks. I think she’ll be a 1400m-1600m horse in time but does have the turn of foot to win a Golden Slipper, top pick.
16. LOVING GABY ($16.10): Who knows how good she is? It was an outstanding win on debut in Chairman’s Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield off a very good trial but that’s probably the F grade form looking at it now. She was luckless in Diamond and if you swap the runs with the winner, you can argue she wins. Her barrier trial at Randwick was good and she looks to handle the soft track. Oisin Murphy is an interesting booking and barrier 15 is scary. I prefer others but it wouldn’t shock me to see her win.
Tenley has shown the best turn of foot of any runner heading into the juvenile showpiece, and that powerful weapon will take her a long way on Saturday.
Leading rider James McDonald has also given a strong push for Tenley considering he opted for this filly over Microphone who previously defeated last Saturday’s ultra-impressive Pago Pago winner Cosmic Force.
McDonald also rode Cosmic Force to that victory but sticks strong with Tenley and that could be telling.
4. Loving Gaby