Trainer John O’Shea and the mighty Godolphin stable could have as many as four runners in this weekend’s Golden Slipper Stakes 2016 field following last Saturday’s racing results at Rosehill Gardens.
The world’s richest race for two-year-olds, the $3.5 million Group 1 Longines Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) takes place back at Rosehill on Saturday and O’Shea is hoping to have four youngsters in the capacity 16-horse starter field.
Unlikely to run in the race for O’Shea however is the weekend’s Group 2 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) winning Lonhro colt Souchez who is more likely to be saved for the $1 million Group 1 Inglis Sires’ (1400m) at Randwick on April 2.
The shortest-priced fancy for Godolphin this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival currently occupying the third line of pre-field Golden Slipper Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au behind Mick Price’s Blue Diamond quinella of Extreme Choice ($2.90) and Flying Artie ($6) is Astern ($7.50).
O’Shea is hoping to have not only Astern but also stablemates Calliope, Tessara and hopefully also Telperion in the line-up as he shoots for his first win in the race.
“We want to run Astern, Calliope, Tessara and Telperion if we can,” O’Shea confirmed to The Sydney Morning Herald on Sunday.
Undefeated Medaglia D’Oro colt Astern earned his spot in the Golden Slipper Stakes field after taking out the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) on February 20.
He goes into the race without another win, but did score an easy four length Warwick Farm trial win over 804m on March 10 to help keep him fit.
The filly Calliope won last Saturday’s Group 2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) to score her Golden Slipper Stakes ballot exemption, the young daughter of Exceed And Excel a winner of two of her three starts to date.
A $17 hope in the latest Golden Slipper Stakes betting markets, Calliope is out to become the third filly in four years to beat home the boys in the race joining Overreach (2013) and Mossfun (2014).
If successful she will be the first to take it out on the back of a Magic Night Stakes run since Calaway Gal (2nd) in 2002 and the first to complete the double since the Lee Freedman-trained Bint Marscay (1993).
Group 3 winner at Rosehill in the wet in late January, Tessera was last seen running fourth to Gai Waterhouse’s upset winner Kiss And Make Up in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on March 5.
The son of Medaglia D’Oro is a $41 roughie to win the Golden Slipper Stakes after that performance, the Todman producing four Golden Slipper winners since 2009.
O’Shea however believes if there is rain around, Tessera will prove way overs.
“There is a bit of rain predicted and Tessera handles wet tracks, to cover all bases we would like to have him in the race,” he said.
The last of the possible Godolphin contingent meanwhile, Telperion also ran fourth last time out when the Street Cry colt finished just out of the money behind Good Standing in the Group 2 Skyline Stakes (1200m) on February 27.
The current Golden Slipper Stakes order of entry could see O’Shea and the stable sacrifice one of their other runners to get Telperion into the field, even though the bookies only rate him a $34 chance in the markets.
“We will talk it over and hopefully they can all get a run, but there might be a decision to be made,” O’Shea said.
A lot hinges on whether one-time favourite Capitalist is passed fit to line-up, the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Magic Millions Classic winner found to be mildly lame post a Tuesday gallop last week.
A winner of his opening three career starts, the Written Tycoon colt suffered his sole defeat to date when going down the beaten odds-on favourite in the Todman Stakes and will be vetted by Racing NSW’s Craig Suann.
Confirmed Golden Slipper Stakes jockeys for the Godolphin runners currently are James McDonald on Astern and Sam Clipperton on Calliope.
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