A diminutive but high-class field of just six three-year-olds have been accepted for the 2011 Golden Rose, Anthony Cummings’ boom colt Smart Missile drawing barrier five for the $1 million Rosehill Gardens showdown on Saturday.
Kicking off Group One racing for the season, this year’s Golden Rose field and barrier draw was released today by Racing NSW, the field the smallest on record.
Prior to this year, the 2008 Golden Rose field attracted the fewest number of contenders when Forensics beat home 11 rivals for the title, the equine influenza outbreak of 2007-08 to blame.
Smart Missile, unbeaten in their three career starts to date, gets the chance to continue their flawless run on Saturday facing a field of fellow colts and geldings with no fillies to feature in the 2011 Golden Rose.
Golden Rose odds following the final field announcement have been adjusted accordingly at Australia’s No. 1 bookmaker Luxbet, Smart Missile the firming $1.85 favourite.
First-up on August 27, Smart Missile claimed their grittiest victory, coming from dead last to run down their rivals, their blistering late burst of acceleration getting them to the line first in the Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m).
In the Run To The Rose Smart Missile jumped from barrier seven of seven, but the smallest field they have run in to date was the five-horse Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) field last March.
Smart Missile hit the headlines in the Todman with their boilover victory over glamour juvenile Sepoy, meaning that although Saturday’s six-horse Golden Rose field is not ideal, Smart Missile has the experience and ability to beat it.
“Small fields are often tricky affairs, it would be nice to get the right draw, whatever that might be and get a bit of luck in the run,” Cummings said.
Deserved second-favourite in the latest Golden Rose betting markets at Luxbet is the well-performing Peter Snowden-trained Helmet.
Drawn in barrier four and due to be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy, dual Group 1 winner Helmet is tipped to be Smart Missile’s biggest threat to maintaining their unbeaten record, but is still a fair way off them in the odds paying $4.40.
“I think Helmet will lead, almost certainly I think and you can’t be giving him too big of a start and ideally we will jump well and sit on his hammer,” Cummings said.
Snowden is unfazed over the small number of Golden Rose acceptors this year, saying that Helmet had the versatility to adapt and lead all the way and become a triple elite level hero at just their seventh start.
“With Helmet, he can race forward, back or middle – so the size of the field doesn’t matter to him,” Snowden said.
Helmet has the chance to hand Snowden with his third Golden Rose victory following wins by Forensics (2008) and Denman (2009).
In an open field, all but one of the Golden Rose contenders are at single-figure odds to win.
Following the highly-spruiked Smart Missile and Helmet in the markets are:
Ron Leemon’s late entry Manawanui ($7), winner of the Group 3 Up & Coming Stakes (1300m) last-start
The Lionel Cohen-trained Rosebud hero Aeronautical ($8.50)
Narrow runner-up to Smart Missile in the Run To The Rose, John O’Shea’s Foxwedge ($9) who came up trumps with the inside alley
Roughie of the field, the Scott Aspery-trained Flight Of Pegasus ($41)
The defectors from nomination stage were the Anthony Cummings-trained duo Ain’t She Grand, who would have been having just her second start, and Houston Benefactor who will be saved for the $175,000 Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1500m) at Randwick Saturday week; Peter Snowden’s Group 3 winning filly Anise; and Delgao’s Lad due to their untimely death this morning.
In a devastating blow for connections, the John McArdle-trained Delago Brom three-year-old collapsed after a track gallop this morning, suffering a fatal heart attack.
Delago’s Lad became the second horse within a month to pass away under these circumstances following the loss of major spring cups contender Cedarberg last month.
The complete 2011 Tooheys New Golden Rose field and barriers can be found below.
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2011 Golden Rose Final Field & Barrier Draw
|1||3X1111X3||HELMET||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||4||56.5kg||103|
|2||1X1X1||SMART MISSILE||Anthony Cummings||Glen Boss||5||56.5kg||103|
|3||1X137X12||FOXWEDGE||John O’Shea||James McDonald (a)||1||56.5kg||99|
|4||311X1||MANAWANUI||Ron Leemon||Glyn Schofield||3||56.5kg||89|
|5||4511||AERONAUTICAL||Lionel Cohen||Nathan Berry||6||56.5kg||79|
|6||134X5||FLIGHT OF PEGASUS||Scott Aspery||Chris Munce||2||56.5kg||72|