Ratings expert Daniel O’Sullivan has Vancouver on top of his 2015 Golden Slipper tips and he believes that the talented colt is capable of overcoming his wide barrier draw to win the Group 1 event at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Vancouver has been slightly easy in Golden Slipper betting markets since he was allocated gate 18 at the barrier draw earlier in the week, but O’Sullivan expects that to change tomorrow and would be surprised if the Gai Waterhouse-trained galloper was not the best-backed runner heading into the race.
However, O’Sullivan does admit that the wide barrier makes the job far more difficult for Vancouver and Tommy Berry in the Golden Slipper and he told RSN that Berry has two possible options when the barriers fly open tomorrow afternoon.
“I think that there are two scenarios and it is going to come down to how they want to ride him,” O’Sullivan said.
“The three inside drawn horses – Furnaces, Haybah and Haptic – have all got early speed and I would expect those horses to show out early.
“The Group immediately outside them don’t have anywhere near the same amount of speed and what we also know with some certainty is that the Gai Waterhouse runner Speak Fondly is going to press forward.
“There are four horses that look likely to be up in the lead, so with Vancouver it comes down to do they want to ride him like the best horse and ride him aggressively, press forward and bank on his speed and stamina to do the job or do they want to be a little more conservative and look for what a best case scenario would be three wide with cover.
“I’m not too sure which way they will go there and I doubt whether the stable will reveal those tactics as they are most likely to have a plan A and a plan B.
“I think that initially they will look to press forward and perhaps if Tommy Berry accesses very quickly that looks unlikely they then may go to a plan B.
“It has certainly added an intriguing element to this race.”
While O’Sullivan is slightly concerned about the run that Vancouver will get in transit in the Golden Slipper, he remains confident that the Medaglia D’Oro is the best two-year-old since Pierro and he is happy to back him at his current Golden Slipper odds.
O’Sullivan believes that Exosphere is the only horse that represents a danger to Vancouver in the Golden Slipper field and he is adamant that the two leading chances have a substantial edge over their rivals in the Group 1 event.
“He is an elite level two-year-old and it is very interesting the preparation that he has been given by Gai Waterhouse,” O’Sullivan said.
“It is very similar to what she did with Pierro a few years ago in that he was coming out and winning his lead-up races, but he wasn’t running anything spectacular and then the work on the horse stepped up and the same with Vancouver and when it came to really put his credentials on the board last start he just exploded with a number that we really only see from elite level two-year-olds across the generations.
“There is absolutely no doubt that he is a tremendous talent and I think he is clearly the best horse in this race.
“The only other horse that can get close to him on performance figures is Exosphere and I think that there is a clear gap to the rest with Headwater being the next best.
“I think the price is a good price and he and Exosphere are the only two possible horses that I could back because they are the two that put down what can be considered Group 1 credentials leading into a Golden Slipper and year after year we see that shine through in the big race.”
Vancouver is currently available at 2015 Golden Slipper odds of $3.10 with Ladbrokes and remains favourite from Exosphere ($4) and Headwater ($12).