There seems to be nothing stopping or even challenging the Golden Slipper 2014 bid of Peter Snowden’s ace filly Earthquake ahead of this Saturday, except perhaps the approaching barrier draw.
The undefeated daughter of Exceed And Excel emerged as a genuine contender for the world’s richest juveniles’ race this autumn when she posted her third win from as many starts in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) in Melbourne.
She was far too strong for them there and hit the top of the markets for Sydney’s $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m), the race now upon us at Rosehill Racecourse on the weekend.
Earthquake was very short in the futures Golden Slipper betting markets post her Blue Diamond triumph, but there were still those naysayers saying she might not bring that form up to Sydney.
They were quickly silenced on March 22 however when, from a wide barrier, Earthquake retained her undefeated status in her Sydney debut with a nice win over Mossfun in the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m).
Holding them off there, Earthquake firmed in her favouritism to add her name to the Golden Slipper winners’ list this autumn.
While there’s been a number of other Slipper lead-ups run and won, nothing has emerged that looks to be a threat to Earthquake and as such she’s now into odds-on territory in the Golden Slipper odds.
At $1.90 she is well clear of the $7 second fancy Mossfun, the Hawkes-trained filly who boasts two of her own Group wins including a fourth length success in the Silver Slipper from the start of March.
The last Golden Slipper favourite to start in the red was Alinghi who could only manage to run third to Dance Hero back in 2004.
But will the Golden Slipper barrier draw see Earthquake ease out at all?
Final acceptances close for the Slipper tomorrow morning at 9am (AEST), and despite the dominance of Earthquake a full field of hopefuls praying for a shot at her is expected.
In a big field the only dint in Earthquake’s armour then could be a double digit gate coupled with Mossfun drawing a nice barrier.
Even that shouldn’t be a worry however as Earthquake did it from barrier 15 of 16 in the Blue Diamond, finding cover out three wide before peeling around to hit the lead and take control over the final 150m on February 22 with Damien Browne in the saddle.
Browne was replaced for Earthquake’s maiden Sydney start then by Kerrin McEvoy in the Reisling.
McEvoy retains the ride for Saturday’s Slipper and couldn’t be happier with his star mount.
“It is very exciting to be involved with a filly like her,” McEvoy told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“She had a freshen-up between the Blue Diamond and her last win and she is ready to peak.
“There is plenty of quality there and she is a filly that saves her best for race day.”
While history shows only three Golden Slipper favourites have saluted for the punters in the past decade, most recently Snowden’s star colt Sepoy (2011), Earthquake looks ready to be the next for the history books and the stable.
She is to be joined in the Golden Slipper field by two fellow Darley-owned runners in Ghibellines and $101 outsider Memorial.
Shamardal colt Ghibellines is also well liked in the pre-post markets paying $13, just longer than the $12 third fancy Unencumbered, after their Group 2 Todman Stakes win over the track and distance.
The Bjorn Baker-trained Gold Coast Magic Millions 2YO Classic champ Unencumbered meanwhile, a winner of five of their eight starts to date, ran second in the Todman on the back of a Silver Slipper fifth behind Mossfun.
The next best in pre-field betting are then Brisbane’s Oakleigh Girl ($16) who hasn’t raced since her second in the MM Classic in January, last Saturday’s Magic Night Stakes winner Bring Me The Maid ($17) for Peter Moody and the Mick Price-trained Blue Diamond third placegetter Cornrow ($17) coming via a Todman third.
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