There were few surprises when the Australian Turf Club (ATC) announced final acceptors for the Golden Slipper 2014 field today, a capacity line-up of star juveniles headed by Earthquake to face off in Sydney on Saturday.
A total of 16 starters plus Paul Perry’s Snitzel colt Scratch Me Lucky sneaking in as the emergency runner make up the official field for this year’s $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens.
Heading the Golden Slipper final acceptances is the likely odds-on favourite Earthquake for the Peter Snowden stables.
Snowden and Darley, from whom he will leave after the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, won the Golden Slipper back in 2011 when champion colt Sepoy completed the Blue Diamond Stakes – Golden Slipper double.
Fast forward to 2014 and they’re out to do it again with their undefeated Exceed And Excel filly Earthquake.
She’s had four starts for four commanding wins to date including her Blue Diamond success at Caulfield in February.
Last time out the ever improving Earthquake brought her stellar form to Sydney winning the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) with ease over the same track and distance as Saturday’s big one.
If successful she’ll become the sixth two-year-old in history to take out the Diamond – Slipper double, and if she starts odds-on she’ll be the first Golden Slipper contender to start in the red since Alinghi who ran third to Dance Hero back in 2004.
The fillies are dominating the Golden Slipper field and markets this year too with the next best fancied acceptor being Mossfun.
The Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes-trained daughter of Mossman won her opening three career starts before coming up against Earthquake whom she ran second to in the Reisling.
Before that however she was a hot chance for Slipper favouritism winning the Group 3 Widden Stakes at Rosehill in mid-February as well as the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes by a commanding four lengths at the start of March.
The females hold a strong record in the Golden Slipper with eight fillies taking it out since 2000, most recently the Gai Waterhouse-trained Overreach last year.
Waterhouse has won a record-equalling five Golden Slippers in total, which her father Tommy Smith holds with her, including the past two with Pierro saluting in 2012 so will be after her sixth on Saturday.
The trainer has two chances in the Golden Slipper field with the well supported Denman colt Law and their Group 2 Skyline Stakes winning stable mate Valentia who will be ridden by last year’s winning jockey Tommy Berry.
Occupying the third line of Golden Slipper betting meanwhile is the horse wearing the number one Golden Slipper saddlecloth, Unencumbered for Bjorn Baker.
The Testa Rossa colt was in flying form during the summer winning four on the trot including the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast.
After a fifth in the Silver Slipper first-up after a 49 day freshen-up they showed improvement last start when second in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) on March 22 which they will be out to improve on.
Also high up the pre-Golden Slipper barrier draw markets are the likes of Tony McEvoy’s up-and-coming Not A Single Doubt colt Risen From Doubt to be ridden by 2012 Golden Slipper winning jockey Nash Rawiller and Snowden’s Street Cry filly Memorial who overraced before finishing last in the Reisling last time out.
Other notable hopes then include the in-form Todman Stakes winner Ghibellines who also represents Darley here, beaten Magic Millions Classic favourite Oakleigh Girl down from Queensland and Reisling Stakes third placed Alpha Miss.
See below for the official 2014 Golden Slipper field and jockeys.
The Golden Slipper 2014 barrier draw will take place today at 12:15pm (AEST) in Sydney with Races.com.au to publish the field’s starting positions shortly after.
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2014 Golden Slipper Field & Jockeys
Rosehill Racecourse – 05/04/2014
|1||UNENCUMBERED||Bjorn Baker||Craig Williams|
|2||JABALI||Mick Price||Glen Boss|
|3||GHIBELLINES||Peter Snowden||Hugh Bowman|
|4||VALENTIA||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry|
|5||CORNROW||Mick Price||Damien Oliver|
|6||LAW||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark|
|8||RISEN FROM DOUBT||Tony McEvoy||Nash Rawiller|
|9||EARTHQUAKE||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy|
|10||MOSSFUN||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James McDonald|
|11||OAKLEIGH GIRL||Danny J Bougoure||Craig Newitt|
|12||ELOPING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||Stephen Baster|
|13||ALPHA MISS||Gary Nickson||Jason Collett|
|14||BRING ME THE MAID||Peter G Moody||Chad Schofield|
|15||MEMORIAL||Peter Snowden||Christian Reith|
|16||BELIEVE YOURSELF||Gerald Ryan||Brenton Avdulla|
|17e||SCRATCH ME LUCKY||Paul Perry||–|