Godolphin already had an advantage in this Saturday’s Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill after four of their impressive two-year-olds made it into the race field of 16. Their chances at winning the $3.5 million race grew exponentially when all four runners drew very well in this morning’s barrier draw.
Trainer John O’Shea will have his hands full saddling Exosphere, Ottoman, Furnaces, and Haptic – who have all drawn in barriers less than 10. Following the live draw announcement this morning, the trainer shared his thoughts on each runner.
Exosphere is the highest-rated of the team in the Golden Slipper betting at Ladbrokes.com.au with odds of $4.20, making him second favourite behind Gai Waterhouse’s Vancouver ($2.80).
Exosphere has already seen his price firm from $4.60 to $4.20 since the betting reopened this morning, making him the market mover of the field. The two-year-old colt was last seen winning the Group 2 Skyline Stakes (1200m) on February 28 by an impressive four lengths.
The colt has drawn the widest start of the four in barrier 10 but will likely come into gate eight if the emergencies fail to gain a start.
“I think the market has got it right in regards to Exosphere,” O’Shea said via Racenet.
“He would be my top pick going into the race.
“He’s untapped. I didn’t want to draw soft and he’ll come into eight if the emergencies don’t get a run – that’s ideal.”
James McDonald was given his pick of the four to ride in the 2015 Golden Slipper, opting to partner Exosphere. The hoop delivered a brilliant winning ride on Hartnell in last Saturday’s Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) and will be given free rein to ride Exosphere however he likes this Saturday.
“That was brilliant,” O’Shea said of last Saturday’s winning ride.
“No one who had done their speedmaps would have had him fourth one out, but that’s where he got to.
“I won’t be telling James anything. He can let the race unfold and settle wherever he wants to.”
O’Shea believes Ottoman, the lone Godolphin filly running in the 2015 Golden Slipper, is the best value at $34. Ottoman was once early favourite to win the world’s richest juvenile race but this changed after she ran fourth in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) on February 21. The filly was last seen running second in the Group 2 Reisling Stakes on March 7.
Ottoman drew barrier eight but could move two gates in.
“She’s the best value, no doubt,” O’Shea said.
“We will probably apply to stewards to have her ridden more forward on Saturday.
“She was favourite for this race at one stage. She disappointed in the Silver Slipper but her run in the Reisling showed me she was right back to where I want her.”
Furnaces ($13) has drawn the inside barrier, which is sure to boost his chances at winning his first race since his maiden back in October. The colt has had two starts since then, running second in both the Listed Lonhro Plate (1100m) and Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m). Champion hoop Hugh Bowman has secured the ride.
Barrier one has delivered the most winners since 1957 providing nine winners, including three of the last six.
“Great for him,” O’Shea said.
“He has options. I would expect to take a trail from there.
“That was one of the strongest Todmans I can remember. We will put the winkers on first time. Hugh Bowman rides. He’ll get every chance.”
Godolphin’s final Golden Slipper runner is Haptic, who will enjoy a start from barrier three with James Doyle to ride. The $14 hopeful has won both of his career starts, including the Lonhro Plate on February 14.
“He’s led for his two wins so far, so we won’t be changing anything for Saturday,” O’Shea said.
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