The 2015 Golden Slipper field has been released and 16 talented juveniles are set to contest the Group 1 event at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Leading Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse has an outstanding record in the Golden Slipper and her star colt Vancouver is set to start the 2015 edition of the race as an outright favourite.
Vancouver stamped himself as a horse to watch when he took out the New South Wales Thoroughbred Breeders’ Plate (1000m) at Royal Randwick on October 4 and he proved that victory was no fluke when he defied a betting drift to take out the Group 3 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on January 31.
The Medaglia D’Oro started the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on March 7 on the second line of betting behind Headwater, but he showed awesome acceleration when asked for an extra effort from jockey Tommy Berry to stamp himself as a clear Golden Slipper favourite.
The Todman Stakes is set to be a key form guide to the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) and former Golden Slipper favourites Furnaces and Headwater are both set to back-up in the $3.5 million event this weekend.
Furnaces is still chasing a first win this preparation after finishing second in the both the Lonhro Plate and Todman Stakes, while Headwater did not receive a great deal of luck in running in the Todman Stakes and was very flat at the finish.
Waterhouse is set to have three runners in the 2015 Golden Slipper field and Vancouver will be joined in the race by stablemates English and Speak Fondly.
English made her racing debut with a professional victory at Kembla Grange on January 31 and she moved her way into Golden Slipper calculations with a strong win in the Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on March 7, while Speak Fondly was able to breakthrough for a maiden race win with a brave front-running performance in the Group 2 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 14.
Another trainer that will be well represented in the Golden Slipper is John O’Shea, who has Furnaces, Haptic, Exosphere and Ottoman in the field for the world’s richest two-year-old race.
Exosphere is currently rated the best Godolphin chance in the Golden Slipper after producing two outstanding performances since returning to the races in February.
The Lonhro colt was far too strong for his rivals in the Valentine’s Day Maiden Plate (1000m) at Kembla Grange on February 14 before he stamped himself as a leading Golden Slipper contender with a four lengths victory in the Group 2 Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm on February 28.
Haptic has flown under the radar heading into the Golden Slipper, but is taking winning form into the race after beating Furnaces in the Lonhro Plate, while Ottoman is yet to deliver on her early promise and was beaten in both the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on February 21 and Reisling Stakes.
Team Snowden have elected not to include Blue Diamond Stakes winner Pride Of Dubai in the Golden Slipper field, but runner-up Reemah will take her place in the Group 1 event.
Reemah went into the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) as a 100/1 chance, but he was given a gem of a ride by jockey Chris Symons and looked the winner at the 100 metre mark before he was caught in the final stages by Pride Of Dubai.
Lake Geneva did not have a great deal of luck in the Blue Diamond Stakes, but will have the chance to record a maiden race win in the Golden Slipper.
Another horse that will be bringing Melbourne form into the Golden Slipper is Mick Price-trained Ready For Victory, who made her racing debut with a smart win in the Festival Of Racing 1000 at Flemington on March 7.
The connections of Fireworks, Single Gaze and Odyssey Moon all paid the late entry fee of $150,000 to get their horses into the Golden Slipper field and they have all secured a run, while the final field is rounded out by Look To The Stars.
Serenade, Racy and Heavenly Hand have all been included in the Golden Slipper field as emergencies and will be relying on withdrawals to earn a start.
The 2015 Golden Slipper barrier draw will be conducted at 11AM (AEDT) and you can find all the latest news at horseracing.com.au.