Just five of the eight nominated colts and geldings will line-up in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick Racecourse on Saturday.
The field may be small but it’s sure to be a hotly contested race with three of the runners on the first five lines in the Golden Slipper futures betting at Ladbrokes.com.au. The Todman Stakes, and Reisling Stakes for the female juveniles, are considered the key lead-up races to the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) on March 21 with 15 of the past 32 winners coming via one of the two races.
Team Hawkes’ Headwater is the early $4.80 favourite to take out the world’s richest juvenile race after the colt’s dominant victory in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) on February 21.
It was just the second start for the two-year-old colt who won his maiden at Moonee Valley at the end of December. Headwater left very fast from the gates to find the front, leading the field by half a length at the 500m hard held. He kicked right away and brained them on the line in a devastating win, with two and a half lengths between him and runner-up Voilier while Mishani Honcho was a further two lengths away in third.
Headwater will need to overcome a wide start from the outside gate in the 2015 Todman Stakes with Blake Shinn to ride.
Also coming via the Silver Slipper Stakes are runner-ups Voilier and Mishani Honcho.
The Gary Nickson-trained Voilier has finished in the first two in his two career starts and is due to jump from barrier four with Tye Angland while Les Ross’ Mishani Honcho will enjoy the inside jump from barrier one.
Mishani Honcho has a lot more experience over his rivals with eight career starts to his name, just one of which was an unplaced run. The two-year-old gelding won the Group 3 BJ McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at the end of December before taking out the Racing Minister’s 2YO Classic (1200m) the following month.
The Silver Slipper Stakes was the gelding’s first start outside of Queensland and he did well to lead the rest of the field behind Headwater and Voilier.
Gai Waterhouse’s Vancouver was once the early Golden Slipper favourite but has since slipped to the third line of betting at $6 after Waterhouse opted not to run the colt in the Silver Slipper Stakes. He won the Listed Breeders Plate (1000m) on debut back on October 4 before resuming with a strong win in the Group 3 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) on January 31.
Vancouver received a barrier trial on February 23 instead of running in the Silver Slipper, which he won strongly by three and a half lengths. He will jump from barrier three with Tommy Berry.
The final Todman Stakes runner is John O’Shea’s Furnaces, who finished runner-up in the Listed Lonhro Plate (1100m) three weeks ago. The colt will jump from barrier two with James McDonald to ride.
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2015 Todman Stakes Field & Barrier Draw
|1||12101133||MISHANI HONCHO||Les Ross||Chris Whiteley||1||55.5kg|
|2||11||HEADWATER||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Blake Shinn||5||55.5kg|
|3||1×1||VANCOUVER||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||3||55.5kg|
|4||1×2||VOILIER||Gary Nickson||Tye Angland||4||55.5kg|
|5||1×2||FURNACES||John O’Shea||James McDonald||2||55.5kg|