Rosehill horseman David Payne is yet to confirm a 2016 Golden Slipper Stakes bid for his upset winner of the ballot-winning race at Randwick Guineas Day, French Fern taking out the $300,000 Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m).
Kicking off the Saturday racing action at Royal Randwick, the Reisling Stakes featured a field of promising two-year-old fillies.
In a late scratching at the barriers was one of the top fancies, the John O’Shea-trained Calliope who was fractious in the gates, rearing up and taken out of the race.
That left the Rick Worthington-trained Honesty Prevails as the red hot favourite in betting, but her flat performance late has put a question mark on her $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) bid at Rosehill Gardens on March 19.
There is also a question mark over whether Payne and connections will take advantage of the Golden Slipper Stakes ballot exemption earned by their Reisling Stakes winner French Fern who had Blake Shinn in the saddle.
“She’s accepted (for the Golden Slipper Stakes) so we’ll decide,” Payne said after the Reisling Stakes success.
The progressive daughter of Lope De Vega had her third career run and made her black-type debut the race formerly known as the Reisling Slipper Trial, her latest start producing a mid-week Canterbury win over 1200m in early January.
She had been freshened-up nicely for her Group 2 test on Guineas Day in Sydney and it showed, Shinn settling her nicely off the pace in third throughout the run.
The Brisbane filly Zelady’s Night Out flew from the barriers and pinged to the early lead from the Marc Conners-trained Super Too.
A winner of three of her four starts so far, the Tony Gollan-trained Zelady’s Night Out led the field around before fading out of the picture in the closing stages.
The shortie in the markets and best-backed of the Reisling hopes to win the Golden Slipper Stakes before the race resulted, Honesty Prevails settled into fourth on the rails and was poking through on the inside trying to make up ground.
The eventual winner French Fern meanwhile was far from doing it easy getting caught wide third on the outside of the pace-setter.
On the turn for home Honesty Prevails was all boxed up on the fence, but she looked to get the room and the clear running 250m from the line.
She was outrun however over the last couple of hundred metres as French Fern pounced quickly on Super Too who grabbed the lead briefly, holding off the late challenges to win.
On the line French Fern ($31) had a length to spare over the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Quick Feet ($17), winning in a time of 1:10.64, while Moqueen ($31) for Anthony Cummings finished off the bunched Trifecta in third.
Picked up for $20,000 at a Patinack disposal sale, French Fern proved a real trier in good company and booked a place in the Golden Slipper Stakes field should Payne decide to go that way.
“We might not go there, we’ll see how it all stacks up,” the South African ex-pat said post-win on Saturday.
“We’ve got a couple of weeks. You don’t want to ruin them early. She’s a valuable filly so we’ll just let the dust settle, then we’ll decide.
“She was three wide (during the Reisling Stakes) and she’s going to improve on the run. She has got a lot of potential.”
Shinn is booked to ride the undefeated Team Snowden-trained Capitalist in the Golden Slipper in a fortnight’s time, but was impressed with the feel of French Fern in the Reisling.
“She’s going to have to improve a bit to be winning a Slipper,” he said.
“She might be better suited to 1400m to a mile but she did a great job.
“She was wide the whole way but travelled well and kicked strongly.
“I was impressed, she had to grit her teeth and win the race.”
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2016 Reisling Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 1 – 05/03/2016
|1||4||FRENCH FERN||David Payne||Blake Shinn||–||3||55.5kg||$31|
|2||5||QUICK FEET||Peter & Paul Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||0.8L||5||55.5kg||$18|
|3||8||MOQUEEN||Anthony Cummings||Hugh Bowman||1L||4||55.5kg||$26|
|4||3||HONESTY PREVAILS||Rick Worthington||Jason Collett||1.7L||1||55.5kg||$2.40F|
|5||6||SUPER TOO||Marc Conners||Ms Winona Costin (a)||2.7L||2||55.5kg||$41|
|6||1||ZELADY’S NIGHT OUT||Tony Gollan||Tim Clark||5.1L||6||55.5kg||$6.50|
|–||2||CALLIOPE||John O’Shea||James McDonald||–||0||–||–|
|–||7||ECHAPPE||John Sargent||Ms Kathy O’Hara||–||0||–||–|