Gongs Emerges As Potential Golden Slipper 2018 Candidate

Untapped Godolphin-raced filly Gongs could prove a potential 2018 Golden Slipper Stakes fancy for next autumn following her flawed but eye-catching debut at Canterbury on Wednesday.

Brenton Avdulla

Jockey Brenton Avdulla rode Godolphin’s potential 2018 Golden Slipper-bound filly Gongs to an impressive debut win at Canterbury on Wednesday. Photo: Daniel Costello.

The two-year-old daughter of Dawn Approach won a 900m trial at the start of the month and carried that form through to Canterbury’s midweek meeting where she blitzed her rivals with a five and a half length success in the 2YOs Plate (1100m).

That runaway win was despite the still-green Gongs running into the rail at the furlong, the up-and-comer able to bounce back and recover well.

Ridden by Brenton Avdulla, the James Cummings-trained filly impressed connections and has already attracted early talk of a Group 1 $3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) bid at Rosehill Gardens for March 24 next Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.

“You love to see a two-year-old that can begin like that and show brilliant speed after two or three strides to lead comfortably,” Cummings told AAP post-win.

“There’s no doubt she’s really improved a furlong since then [her trial].

“She’s been able to absorb some really good, strong training.

“She was just in a different postcode. She’s an exciting filly for the team and I think we might be able to find a nice race for her next year.”

Avdulla was also happy with the progression Gongs showed from her earlier trial, but said she still had plenty to learn before the autumn riches.

“I galloped her on Saturday and I thought she took the necessary improvement,” he said.

“She’s nowhere near where she’s going to be. She just wasn’t a hundred per cent sure how to come off the bridle but her best work was her last furlong.”

Tentative early Golden Slipper betting markets at bookies around the country are dominated by the Chris Waller-trained Breeders Plate winning colt Performer and Choisir filly Setsuna for Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott.

Setsuna has had three starts for a duo of wins, the latest at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day in the Group 3 Ottawa Stakes (1000m).

Co-trainer Waterhouse boasts six previous Golden Slipper Stakes wins, most recently in 2015 with Vancouver.

The Godolphin team meanwhile haven’t won the event since the success of the Peter Snowden-trained Sepoy (2011) when operating under the Darley banner.

Along with Gongs, who sits around a $17 quote in futures Golden Slipper odds, the other Godolphin-raced youngster eyeing the country’s richest race for juveniles is Dynamited.

Currently in the paddock spelling ahead of an autumn return, Exceed And Excel colt Dynamited was convincing at Rosehill on debut on November 11 with a half-length win under 58kg in the $100,000 #TheRaces Handicap (1100m).

Godolphin could add yet another young gun to their potential Golden Slipper contingent this weekend with well-supported Plague Stone odds-on at $1.85 and firming through Ladbrokes.com.au for his debut at Rosehill on Saturday.

Running in the card opener, the unraced Lonhro colt won a 900m Canterbury trial on November 3 by over five lengths and has Avdulla on for his first-up run in the $150,000 Golden Gift (1100m).

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