Melbourne’s Mick Price is beaming ahead of Saturday week’s Golden Slipper Stakes 2016 in Sydney after his top-fancied pair Flying Artie and Extreme Choice worked well the right-handed way in a track gallop on Tuesday morning.
The world’s richest race for two-year-olds, the $3.5 million Group 1 Longines Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) takes place at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse on March 19.
Currently Price, who already won Melbourne’s autumn juvenile’s feature the Blue Diamond Stakes with Extreme Choice this season, has the two early favourites in Golden Slipper Stakes betting through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Sitting top of the pre-field Golden Slipper odds at $2.80 is the Blue Diamond winner Extreme Choice, the undefeated Not A Single Doubt colt having won all three of his career starts to date.
The latest of those was in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) on February 27 where he overcame barrier 11 of 16 to defeat stablemate, fellow Slipper hope Flying Artie by one and three-quarter lengths.
Extreme Choice, who has already amassed close to $1.3 million in prize money, is also proven the Sydney way of racing having won the Inglis Nursery (1000m) at Randwick by an easy two lengths on debut back in December.
He and Price’s progressive Artie Schiller colt Flying Artie both worked well the right-handed direction in Victoria completing their final work at home before the trip to Sydney.
Price was thrilled with the hit-out by both horses, Extreme Choice ridden by Craig Newitt and Flying Artie partnered by his Blue Diamond hoop also Damien Oliver.
“I think they’re both pretty good,” Price told Racing Ahead on RSN 927 on Tuesday.
“They had a bit of a practice go on Saturday morning – that was a medium gallop, but I wanted practice for this morning.
“Flying Artie’s pretty good that way of going. Extreme Choice has been that way, handled that way, and not much goes wrong with him.
“Flying Artie, we put him on the inside on the fence, and he sat off and cruised up and handled it good. Damien rode him, Craig rode the other one.
“The work was good – I had them running 53.15 seconds [for 800m], the last 200m in 22-and-a-bit.”
Flying Artie was runner-up in his race debut during the Melbourne Cup Carnival last November at Flemington to Power Trip in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m).
He then won first-up at Caulfield on February 13 in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) before his Group 1 second, which he currently pays $6.50 in Golden Slipper markets to improve on with an upset over Extreme Choice in Sydney.
Price is confident heading into the Golden Slipper Stakes believing his two have the speed and turn of foot.
That said, he is still wary about the possible advantage the Sydney-based two-year-olds have after the upset win of Gai Waterhouse’s More Than Ready colt Kiss And Make Up over former Slipper favourite Capitalist in last Saturday’s Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
“The Sydney two-year-olds are a bit open. You don’t have any dominating horse,” Price said.
“Gai’s horse looks like it’s coming into the race at the right time, and is nice and tough and hard.
“I think the turn of foot up the straight might sort a few of them out.
“My two colts are that type of horse – they both have a good turn of foot.”
After the weekend win, Kiss And Make up firmed right into the $9 third favourite to win the Golden Slipper Stakes and complete the double last achieved by Vancouver (2015) from the Waterhouse stable 12 months ago.
Waterhouse is the dominant Golden Slipper winning trainer having won the classic six times in total.
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