Highly rated two year old Defcon’s Golden Slipper prospects are on the line when he lines up in the Group 2 $250,000 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Several of the juveniles listed to run in the Silver Slipper Stakes are hoping to gain a start in the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 19 and the winner on Saturday will be excluded from the ballot for the world’s richest two year old race.
Defcon had a huge rapt on him when he went to the races for the first time and after hitting the front at the 200m was found wanting, going down to the John O’Shea trained Tessara in the Group 3 $150,000 Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on January 30.
Co-trainers Peter and Paul Snowden then turned their attention to qualifying Defcon for the Group 1 $1.5m Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 27.
That plan came to an abrupt end when the Choisir colt had to be scratched from the Group 3 $200,000 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Prelude (C&G) (1100m) at Caulfield last Saturday after succumbing to a virus.
But the Snowdens have reported that Defcon is back on track and were happy with the colt after he finished fourth in a 900m barrier trial at Rosehill on Monday.
“All is in order, I trialled him yesterday to be sure of that and he’s come through the trial nicely so looking forward to Saturday,” Peter Snowden told Racenet.
“I’m really happy with how he’s going.
“Physically and mentally he’s as close as I’m going to get him. He should present in good order on Saturday.”
Peter Snowden is expecting Defcon to race in a forward position and be very competitive on Saturday and if he races up to expectation would push onto the Golden Slipper Stakes.
“No doubt with a bit of luck and a good draw, he’ll be competitive on Saturday,” Peter Snowden said.
“I want to see him take up a forward spot, relax well and we’ll try and use that turn of foot he has at the right time of the race, hoping it’s good enough to get him home.”
While Brenton Avdulla rode Defcon in the Canonbury Stakes, Saturday’s jockey Blake Shinn will be having his first race ride on Defocn, but has ridden the colt in three barrier trials and knows the youngster well.
“Blake knows the horse inside out so it’s important for him to be there. He knows his strengths and I’m sure he’ll ride him to those on Saturday,” Peter Snowden said.
The Snowdens already have the Golden Slipper Stakes favourite Capitalist who heads the market order at Ladbrokes.com.au at $3.80 while Defcon is marked as a $21 chance.
Capitalist is undefeated from three race starts with wins in the Listed $150,000 Newgate Breeders’ Plate (1000m) at Randwick on October 3, in the $200,000 Wyong Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1100m) at Wyong on December 17 and in the $2m Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on January 9.
The Written Tycoon colt will next step out in the Group 2 $300,000 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on March 5.
Defcon will be facing some stiff opposition in the Silver Slipper Stakes on Saturday from the Gai Waterhouse trained Scarlet Rain and John O’Shea’s two colts Astern and Morton’s Fork.
Scarlet Rain is a winner at both of her race starts in a 1100m Rosehill two year old Plate on January 2 and in a two year old Plate at Randwick on January 23.
While Astern scored an impressive two and half lengths win in a two year old Plate at Randwick on December 5 and Morton’s Fork was successful in a 1100m two year old Plate at Canterbury on November 7.