A capacity field of Stradbroke Handicap hopefuls...
Hall of Famer John Hawkes celebrated his fourth Golden Slipper success in 2018 and second in partnership with his sons thanks to a brilliant all-the-way effort from $1.7 million filly Estijaab.
The very expensive yearling buy came into the Group 1 $3.5 million Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) having won two of her three career starts including a last start victory in the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m).
Forgotten earlier in Golden Slipper betting after her first-up loss in late February to Sunlight in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m), Snitzel filly Estijaab was the market mover on race day backed in from $9 to $8.
She still proved the value, leading an all-filly Golden Slipper trifecta holding off the Tony McEvoy-trained stablemates Oohood ($17) and one time favourite Sunlight ($5).
“They’re not easy races to win,” Hawkes, who won the race in with Guineas (1997) and Forensics (2007) before partnering with Wayne and Michael to salute again with the filly Mossfun in 2014, said post-victory.
“You’ve got to have them peaking on the right day.
“We wanted her right on the right day.
“It’s just a great effort with the boys and the family.”
Jumping from a wide barrier 14 draw, Estijaab showed incredible gate speed and her first 100m was very slick as jockey Brenton Avdulla took her straight to the lead and held that position right to the line for his first Slipper success.
“The barrier always made it a bit more difficult,” Hawkes added.
“But she’s a super filly.
“That’s her attribute [gate speed]. We knew that and that was part of the plan…we were happy to take up the lead.
“It was a brilliant ride by Brenton, just unbelievable. It’s fantastic.”
Estijaab crossed and led the Golden Slipper field around with the favourite Written By settled second the fence and the Gai Waterhouse runner Santos in third out wide from Sandbar who was fourth the rails inside of Sunlight.
Leading around the turn and into the straight Estijaab gave a lovely kick to leave Written By behind and hold off the fast-finishing daughter of I Am Invincible Oohood, racing for the first time since her third in the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes, and Sunlight who was also brave in defeat.
Having got to the lead without a challenge and reeling off all the soft sectionals, Estijaab had enough in the tank to hit the line first and frank the Reisling Stakes form again after She Will Reign (2nd in 2017) won the Slipper off the same lead-up race last year.
“Words can’t describe it, it’s been a very surreal lead-up and it’s the first time I’ve gotten into the race and thought I had a legit contender,” winning hoop Avdulla said.
“She was an expensive yearling and now she’s a very valuable little mare.
“Her gate speed was tremendous…and she got through the [soft] ground really well.
“I got every last bit out of her and to her credit, she’s a top class filly.
“It’s just a very special feeling.”
It was a devastatingly close Golden Slipper result for McEvoy who prepared the second two past the post and who thought briefly on the straight he had the world’s richest race for two-year-olds won.
“I’m a bit hollow,” he said.
“They [Oohood and Sunlight] ran amazing races. I thought Sunlight got a spot further back then we’d intended with her but she ran her heard out as she does.
“Oohood just confirmed she’s the best maiden in Australia…she’s getting very close.
“They both just missed but they were amazing.”
There is a chance now that Estijaab could head to Royal Randwick in a fortnight on April 7 for a shot at the Group 1 $1 million ATC Inglis Sires’ (1400m), a race Yankee Rose won in 2016 off a Golden Slipper second.
The Golden Slipper – ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes double meanwhile was last completed by Pierro in 2012.
To back the Golden Slipper 2018 winner Estijaab next race at the right price visit Ladbrokes.com.au today.
2018 Golden Slipper Results & Finishing Order
Rosehill Race 7 – 24/03/2018
|1||11||ESTIJAAB||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Brenton Avdulla||–||14||54.5kg||$8.50|
|2||12||OOHOOD||Tony McEvoy||Zac Purton||0.2L||10||54.5kg||$17|
|3||10||SUNLIGHT||Tony McEvoy||Luke Currie||1.5L||5||54.5kg||$5|
|4||1||WRITTEN BY||Grahame Begg||Jordan Childs||1.8L||4||56.5kg||$4.80F|
|5||15||SEABROOK (NZ)||Mick Price||Damien Oliver||2.1L||11||54.5kg||$13|
|6||4||LONG LEAF||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Blake Shinn||3.1L||15||56.5kg||$41|
|7||13||FIESTA||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||3.3L||16||54.5kg||$26|
|8||8||SANDBAR||Brad Widdup||Christian Reith||4L||3||56.5kg||$14|
|9||14||SIZZLING BELLE||Nick Olive||Ms Kathy O’Hara||4.2L||1||54.5kg||$91|
|10||3||AYLMERTON||Jean Dubois||Tommy Berry||4.4L||8||56.5kg||$17|
|11||16||SECRET LADY||Gary Portelli||Ben Melham||4.9L||12||54.5kg||$201|
|12||6||EF TROOP||Tony Gollan||Jason Collett||5L||2||56.5kg||$21|
|13||2||SANTOS||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||5.1L||7||56.5kg||$16|
|14||5||PERFORMER||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||5.3L||13||56.5kg||$7.50|
|15||17e||QAFILA||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Craig Williams||8.3L||9||54.5kg||$41|
|16||7||PRAIRIE FIRE||Mick Price||Mark Zahra||11.7L||6|
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