One-time second favourite to win this Saturday’s $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m), Neville Layt’s talented Not A Single Doubt filly Karuta Queen looked ready to peak when it counts after a scintillating track workout yesterday.
Karuta Queen’s four race unbeaten streak was shattered last start when she was defeated for the first time by You’re Canny who claimed a shock upset in the $250,000 Listed Black Opal Stakes (1200m) at Canberra on March 13.
Prior to the Black Opal, Karuta Queen sat second in the 2011 Golden Slipper odds behind boom colt Sepoy after she won both the Wyong and Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO Classics.
After going down in the Black Opal, Karuta Queen drifted out to a double-figure outsider in the Slipper markets.
Layt, however, is admittedly chuffed with his filly’s progress since and is tipping her as one of Sepoy’s main dangers on Saturday.
Yesterday morning at Queanbeyan Racecourse Karuta Queen looked on track to bounce back in the Golden Slipper after impressing connections, onlookers and punters in a hitout at her home course.
Karuta Queen clocked a blistering 32.7 seconds in her final 600 metres in the trial, the ideal preparatory performance before taking on 15 classy rivals in Saturday’s Golden Slipper field.
“She even worked better than when she went into the Magic Millions, I really mean that,” Layt said after the workout.
“I put another horse with her to make sure she worked and she would have left the other horse 20 lengths behind.”
Saturday she faces a tougher test, but Layt is confident Karuta Queen has what it takes to become this year’s Golden Slipper winner.
“I was absolutely stoked (Tuesday morning), she showed me what I wanted to see,” Layt said.
In the Golden Slipper, regular rider Tommy Berry will continue his association with the Magic Millions winning filly.
Karuta Queen came up with gate 13 in yesterday’s Golden Slipper barrier draw, the only position yet to produce a Golden Slipper winner.
She will move into gate 12, however, if first emergency Do You Think (barrier nine) doesn’t gain a start pushing the ill-fated starting spot to the Peter Snowden-trained Altar.
“I’m not overly concerned,” Layt commented in regards to Karuta Queen’s barrier.
When Slipper betting reopened yesterday Karuta Queen was an $18 shot, but her awkward draw has not deterred the punters as she has since been backed into $14.