R7 Golden Slipper 1200m 2YO Open G1 SW
The track is currently a Heavy 9 with a further 20-30mm of rain forecast on Friday and 10-20mm of rain on Saturday. The track will race as a very heavy 10. The rail is out 3m from last Saturday’s meeting which was conducted on a Soft 7 track.
That rail position is still likely to leave at least 3m of ground on the inside of the straight showing wear and tear from last week’s meeting. That could result in horses away from the fence being better suited. We’ll be monitoring early races to confirm one way or another.
Speed and Tactics
This looks likely to be a solid to fast run Golden Slipper courtesy of Houtzen drawn in Barrier 16 (comes into 14 assuming the emergencies come out). She has run along at above average to fast speed at every start so far and it’s very likely she’ll do that again here. We don’t expect she’ll have much trouble crossing the field, but it will be very tough for her to then back off the pace to anything below a solid level.
Others such as She Will Reign (13), Teaspoon (14), Madeenaty (9) and Diamond Tathaga (7) can all be thereabouts in the run, but Houtzen will be the one controlling the pace.
Early Pace Rating: Solid to fast
Late Pace Rating: Moderate to slow
Best Suited: 2 to 6 lengths off the lead.
WFA Performance Ratings – Winning Benchmark
This year’s Golden Slipper lacks depth at the top end compared to years gone by and as a result the winning standard will quite possibly end up lower. Typically, we would expect the winner to run to a WFA Performance Rating of around 95.5 to 96.5 at the weights carried (103-104 normalised to WFA) but this year’s race looks more likely to be won at somewhere in the 93 to 94 range.
In our assessed price order:
History is against Blue Diamond winners completing the double, but this is an unusual year as mentioned above and the gap to the Golden Slipper is now shorter. Catchy was outstanding in winning the Blue Diamond, coming from a long way back off an unsuitable moderate pace and clocking a very powerful last 200m rating as she attacked the line. Had the race been run at more genuine pace she would have won by further and come into this as a clear favourite.
The key here is that she’s certain to get a more genuine pace courtesy of Houtzen and that looks a scenario that could bring out her absolute best and push her to a new rating peak. Barrier 8 looks ideal, it should see her settle 4L to 6L off the lead at the 600m and within striking distance as they turn for home ready to unleash her powerful finish. The wet is an unknown but there have been multiple wet track Slipper winners come into the race without a run in the conditions, so there’s no reason to be put off by that factor at all.
Catchy has a super competitive overall rating for this race and most importantly has the best late strength profile and that could be the key factor at the end of 1200m on very heavy ground. She looks the horse to beat!
She was super impressive in her first three career wins, before having her colours lowered by Frolic last start on a very heavy track at Randwick. There were some genuine excuses for that defeat and while the loss is factored into our assessment, the level of overall talent she has displayed so far must still be the key factor. There have been plenty of Golden Slipper winners that came into the race off less than a peak rating at their last start.
She’s unbeaten in four runs so far and could not have been more impressive in those victories. She’s run the overall time figures to win a Golden Slipper and it would be no surprise if she did that here.
However, the concern is just how fast she’ll go early in the very heavy conditions and how that may leave her vulnerable at the end of the 1200m trip. She had to cross from wide in the Magic Millions and led at a fast pace… and while the win was very impressive, Chauffeur did almost run her down after cruising along back in the field and then just running home in a similar speed rating to his first section.
He’s not in the same class as her, but the fact he ran her to half a length has to raise some concerns about her vulnerability with superior horses chasing her home in the Golden Slipper. That’s even more relevant in the very heavy conditions which will be more physically taxing compared to 1200m on a good track.
Ran well to finish second in the Blue Diamond behind Catchy after travelling wide, although it should be noted the pace was moderate and there was only one bend. It’s hard to think he could beat her home on talent, but that’s not the only factor that determines the outcome of races. If he gets the right trip and handles the ground better than others, then he can certainly be a factor in the finish.
Finished 2.5L behind Catchy in the Blue Diamond before coming to Sydney last week to win the Magic Night stakes by 1.8L. On that run she’s capable of being competitive in this race and showed last week that she can handle at least Soft 7 ground.
His debut win and then very unlucky defeat behind Pariah two runs ago stamped Menari as a real Slipper contender, but he was disappointing in the Todman Stakes last start on a very heavy track at Randwick. That’s hard to turn around for this race, but he definitely has the talent to be right in the finish if he can produce his best.
Started big odds when he won the Black Opal, but he produced some very good figures off a moderate pace. The wet track and more solid tempo here are big changes to that run, but if he handles those conditions he’s capable of being thereabouts.
He was the run of the race in the G2 Todman last start, when just nosed about by Gunnison. There was a bit to like about the figures out of that race and we know that he gets through very heavy ground particularly well. He’s not hopeless here and it wouldn’t surprise us if he ran into a placing. His biggest challenge will be not getting too far back early.
She made a big statement when running past She Will Reign last start on a very heavy Randwick track, beating that filly by 2.3 lengths. The concern is that she was ideally suited by finding the outside fence first and the overall race figures were inferior to the Colts race on the day. There’s no doubt she’ll get through the ground here, but will be giving them a big head start and we needed to see more quality in those last start figures to have her among the better chances.
Was 2.2L behind Catchy in the Blue Diamond without any excuse so it’s hard to like her in this.
He’s the first emergency and will need at least one scratching to get a run. His form is mixed, but the only time he struck a fast pace he was able to run 0.5L second to Houtzen in the Magic Millions. That suggests he’s not hopeless here, although you couldn’t be confident.
She’s an honest / tough filly that should press forward to make her own luck and did run well on Heavy 8 ground last start. She’s needs a big new career peak to get in the finish here, but it wouldn’t surprise if she ran top six.
He won the Pago Pago last Saturday, but the figures lacked substance and aren’t up to this standard.
He won the G2 Skyline Stakes on Heavy 8 ground but his figures were well below the standard that will be needed to measure up here.
He’s definitely more talented than his form currently shows, but this race looks to have come too soon for him and settling well back in the field will almost certainly make his task too great. He might make a Sires / Champagne horse.
Her best form is over 1000m-1100m, so a fast run 1200m on heavy ground looks too much for her to be competitive here.
His form and figures suggest he’s the next level down from the type of quality needed to win a Golden Slipper. It would be a big surprise if he suddenly improved enough to be in the mix.
Second emergency. His figures are well below the standard needed to be competitive here.
Third emergency. Looks totally outclassed.