Following the weekend racing action there has been a number of notable updates to the field and early odds for Easter Saturday’s much awaited 2012 Golden Slipper showdown.
The richest two-year-olds’ race in the world, the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) is set to highlight a bumper day’s racing at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday April 7, and there are still 247 juveniles entered for the event.
One youngster that qualified for the Golden Slipper field 2012 on Saturday was Ashokan, John O’Shea’s young gun beating home the previously undefeated Raceway to win the Group 3 Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick.
“I have never been as relived in all my life,” Ashokan’s owner Edmund Bateman’s bloodstock agent James Harron said on the weekend.
“He is in the Slipper, that’s what you want when you buy them.
“He is a very exciting horse and has really jumped out of the ground since his debut.”
The victory saw $800,000 yearling purchase Ashokan skyrocket up the Golden Slipper odds at bookmaker.com.au as they firmed in from around $101 to $21.
Skyline Stakes runner-up Raceway, from the Gai Waterhouse stables, eased slightly in their Golden Slipper price out to $11 while the third placed Collect firmed from around $51 to $26.
Ashokan is certainly bred to be a Golden Slipper winner as his sire More Than Ready has already produced two in Sebring (2008) and Phelan Ready (2009).
Randwick-based O’Shea, who will be seeking his maiden Golden Slipper triumph after Charge Forward was narrowly defeated by Dance Hero back in 2004, could have as many as three hopefuls in the race this autumn.
His other top two chances are fellow More Than Ready colt Faustus, last seen running second to Epaulette in the Listed Black Opal Stakes (1200m) at Canberra on March 11, and Canonbury Stakes runner-up Shelford.
Both Faustus and Shelford will attempt to qualify for the Golden Slipper field with a win in the $300,000 Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m), also known as the Todman Slipper Trial, at Rosehill this Saturday.
“All three colts are really promising horses and there is nothing between them in ability,” O’Shea declared.
“Ashokan is more stoutly-bred than the other two and he is going to make a really nice horse next season.”
Another notable Golden Slipper betting market mover from the weekend is Jade Marauder, Chris Waller’s Fastnet Rock filly now a $26 chance through bookmaker.com.au after her win in the Group 3 Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m).
“We will keep her in cotton wool between now and the Golden Slipper,” Waller said.
For her Sweet Embrace Stakes win Jade Marauder was ridden by Hugh Bowman, but the ace hoop won’t be on her for the Golden Slipper having already committed himself to ride Raceway in the big event, a horse he said must show improvement after going down on Saturday.
“I didn’t think his run was bad,” Bowman said.
“But he will have to find a couple of lengths (for the Golden Slipper).”
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