The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Six-time Golden Slipper winning trainer Gai Waterhouse has another genuine contender confirmed a run in the 2018 edition of the two-years-old classic following a narrow win by odds-on favourite Santos in the Group 2 $200,000 Skyline Stakes (1200m).
The world’s richest juvenile’s race, the Group 1 $3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) runs at Rosehill Gardens on March 24 and well-bred I Am Invincible colt Santos is now exempt from ballot for the feature.
Taking his career record up to two wins from four starts, the bay jumped short-priced favourite on Chipping Norton Stakes Day at Randwick after his dominant first-up win at the track a fortnight back when saluting by two and a half-lengths in the Pierro Plate (1100m).
Jockey Tim Clark retained the ride in the Skyline Stakes, but there was some pre-race drama after Santos sprung a plate and had to be replated just before jump.
The youngster then pulled into second behind the Chris Waller-trained Zousain who took the early lead, crossing form out wide in the small seven-starter field to set the pace after settling.
It was a very compact field heading into the turn for home and those from the back started to run on including the Gerald Ryan-trained Not A Single Doubt colt Legend Of Condor who was outside and moving into fourth.
Once on the straight Clark went for home on Santos, trying to beat off Zousain.
The top fancy did not quicken straight away, but eventually hit the front 150m out from the line when really put under the pump with his rivals breathing down his neck.
In the end the favourite got the job done, Santos ($1.75) just holding out the returning Peter & Paul Snowden-trained fellow I Am Invincible colt Spin ($6.50) as the race roughie Legend Of Condor ($21) showed a nice late turn of foot to finish third on the outside.
Despite looking vulnerable plenty of times down the straight, Santos kept lifting in the Skyline Stakes and responded once the pressure was on.
“Probably just the edge was off him a little bit after such a dominant win first,” Clark said after the race.
“I think the three weeks now leading into the Slipper is going to be ideal for him.
“Things didn’t go exactly to plan but he showed his class.”
Santos narrowly won in 1:11.15, including a final 200m sectional of 12.76 seconds, but it is now questionable after the tight finish as to how that form will stack up in the Golden Slipper.
Santos will now chase the Skyline Stakes – Golden Slipper double most recently completed by Dance Hero in 2004, while Waterhouse looks for her first win in the latter since Vancouver in 2015.
To back Santos next race in the Golden Slipper 2018 at the right price head to Ladbrokes.com.au.
2018 Skyline Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 3 – 03/03/2018
|1||2||SANTOS||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||–||3||55.5kg||$1.75F|
|2||5||SPIN||Peter & Paul Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||0.2L||5||55.5kg||$6.50|
|3||4||LEGEND OF CONDOR||Gerald Ryan||Glyn Schofield||0.3L||4||55.5kg||$21|
|4||6||ZOUSAIN||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||0.6L||6||55.5kg||$10|
|5||7||OXFORD TYCOON||Kim Waugh||Tye Angland||1.1L||1||55.5kg||$26|
|6||3||SANDBAR||Brad Widdup||Christian Reith||1.4L||2||55.5kg||$11|
|7||1||IRISH BET||John O’Shea||Brenton Avdulla||6.4L||7||55.5kg||$8|
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