This morning saw both the final field and barrier draws announced for the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m), which is running at Rosehill on Saturday.
Gai Waterhouse’s Vancouver has sat atop the Golden Slipper betting at Ladbrokes.com.au ever since he recorded an impressive three and a quarter length victory in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) on March 7, which is considered one of the ideal lead-up races to the $3.5 million feature race for two-year-olds.
Vancouver suffered a big blow to his winning chances in the 2015 Golden Slipper after drawing barrier 18, the second-widest gate, however he’ll likely come into barrier 15 if all three emergencies fail to take their place in the field.
A good starting gate is vital to a horse’s chances at winning the Golden Slipper; in a capacity field, they can often be the difference between winning and losing. Barriers 12-16 have only recorded five winners in the past 32 editions of the race.
Vancouver is still the favourite in the betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au but his price continues to ease from his opening price of $2.50 and he’s currently paying $2.90.
Most trainers would be devastated at the blow to their chances at winning the Golden Slipper but Waterhouse is remaining upbeat in her usual fashion.
“I never worry about barriers because you can’t do anything about them,” Waterhouse said.
“It is like your parents, you can’t say that you want to change your parents because you are stuck with them.
“We have an outside barrier and there will be a scrimmage going on inside.
“He can go forward and he can go back.
“Tommy has won a Golden Slipper and he was bang up on the fence and he will be using his brains from the outside there.”
Waterhouse will have a total of three runners in the 2015 Golden Slipper as she vies to win her sixth title in the race – English drew barrier six while Speak Fondly drew barrier 12.
The trainer first won the world’s richest juvenile race with Ha Ha (2001) followed by Dance Hero (2004), Sebring (2008), Pierro (2012), and Overreach (2013).
The sixth win would mean more than anything to Gai, considering it would put her level with her father TJ Smith in total Golden Slipper victories.
“I love this race and I think it is the most exciting race in the world,” Waterhouse said.
“It symbolizes everything that we stand for, which is all about vitality, all about youth and every stallion that is worth its stamp has come out of this race.
“This is the stallion making race of Australia and the world.”
In an ideal piece of history that would be wonderful if it worked in Waterhouse’s favour: only one Golden Slipper runner has won from barrier 15 and it was Star Watch back in 1988, trained by none other than her father.
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