A devastating win on debut by More Than Ready colt Raceway at Warwick Farm on Saturday has trainer Gai Waterhouse looking towards the Golden Slipper 2012 this April hopeful of a fourth win in the world’s richest race for two-year-olds.
Raceway displayed all the potential of an emerging turf champion when the previously unraced youngster stormed away to take out the $70,000 Warwick Farm 100 Club Plate (1000m) by an easy four lengths.
After starting as the well-raced $2.45 favourite Raceway, a $150,000 Inglis yearling purchase, was never in doubt outclassing their rivals including runner-up Agueda ($7) and the third placed Emperor Of Rome ($41).
Waterhouse, who also prepares this Saturday’s Magic Millions Classic favourite Driefontein, was quick to name an ambitious Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival assignment in the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on Easter Saturday, April 7, for Raceway.
The same team of connections that won the 2008 Golden Slipper with Sebring are also behind Raceway, who has a similar pedigree to the former champion, and this weekend’s Magic Millions Classic top elect Driefontein.
Both Sebring and Raceway are by ace sire More Than Ready and are out of Flying Spur mares, Sebring from Purespeed and Raceway out of Claws, and Star Thoroughbreds syndicate manager Denise Martin is confident that this new kid on the block can go all the way.
“He is a really smart horse,” Martin said of Raceway.
“He was a Sydney Easter (sales) buy and Gai liked him very much.
“Gai thinks he is extremely versatile, he is a big strong individual.”
While not present trackside to watch Raceway’s debut, Waterhouse was very happy with the ease in which they won and the time (56.85).
“He’s a very good two-year-old, he did a lot wrong on Saturday and still bolted in,” she said.
“He ran a very fast time, he’s got a fantastic stride.”
Waterhouse also made comparisons to the similarities in both the breeding and physical attributes between Sebring and Raceway.
“He’s very similar to Sebring in that he’s a very big, rangy, leggy horse and he’s by the same sire and has the same cross,” she said.
Jockey Hugh Bowman, aboard Raceway for their emphatic victory on Saturday, was also full of praise for the up-and-comer.
“He is the best horse I have sat on for a while,” Bowman said.
Heading towards the Golden Slipper Stakes, Raceway is also expected to be aimed at the $1 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 25 during the 2012 Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
“I think the preference at the moment is to go to Melbourne for the Blue Diamond,” Martin said.
Last year Peter Snowden’s boom colt Sepoy became the first horse since Courtza (1989) to secure the Blue Diamond – Golden Slipper stakes double, and Raceway may be given the chance to emulate them this autumn.
Raceway’s next start is penciled in as the $125,000 Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on February 11.
No markets for the 2012 Golden Slipper have been released, but our preferred online bookmaker Luxbet are sure to be one of the first to put out pre-field odds on the feature.