Punters looking for an omen bet on Saturday’s $3.5 million two-years-old feature look no further than Santos with the colt drawing barrier seven as trainer Gai Waterhouse chases her incredible seventh Golden Slipper success.
Along with Winx running for her 24th straight turf triumph in the George Ryder Stakes, the Rosehill racing action on Saturday is headlined by the Group 1 $3.5 million Longines Golden Slipper (1200m).
On Tuesday morning Racing NSW released the capacity field of two-year-olds and conducted the Golden Slipper barrier draw where Santos drew favourably in barrier seven.
The I Am Invincible colt is trained by co-trained by Sydney’s leading lady of racing Waterhouse who holds the record having prepared six previous Golden Slipper winners.
She is after her seventh success in the autumn classic then on the weekend and her first in partnership with former racing manager Adrian Bott.
Waterhouse’s previous Golden Slipper victories were achieved with: Ha Ha (2001), Dance Hero (2004), Sebring (2008), Pierro (2012), Overreach (2013) and Vancouver (2015).
The in-form Santos is her sole runner in the 16 starter Golden Slipper field this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and is out to be the first to salute from barrier seven since the David Hayes-trained Miss Finland (2006).
“It’s a race I think is so important for Australia,” Waterhouse said at the draw.
Santos gets the chance to salute his future value at stud with a win and is one of five current single-figure fancies in the latest Golden Slipper odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
“Luck has a lot to do with it,” Waterhouse admitted when speaking about Slipper wins.
“It’s a tricky race, but it’s a great race.”
Santos pays $8 to make it three on the trot after saluting in the Pierro Plate (1100m) on February 17 and the Group 2 Skyline Stakes (1200m) on March 3 at Randwick.
The Waterhouse-trained Dance Hero (2004) was the last Skyline Stakes – Golden Slipper double winner without a run in between.
To be ridden by Tim Clark once again, Santos was brought on fitness-wise for the Slipper on March 15 winning a 737m hit-out at Randwick by two lengths on a Heavy (8) track.
Connections of the Golden Slipper hopefuls and the punters are on weather watch ahead of Saturday with the forecast suggesting a possible rain-affected Rosehill track for the big day.
That successful trial on Heavy going then could prove crucial for Santos whose Skyline Stakes success came on a Soft (5) course.
The two favourites in Golden Slipper betting were also big winners at the barrier draw with Sunlight ($4.20) and Written By ($4.80) to jump from barriers five and four respectively.
Both come off wins at last Saturday’s Coolmore Classic Day meeting at Rosehill with Tony McEvoy’s filly Sunlight saluting in the Group 3 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) before the Grahame Begg-trained Written By took out the Group 3 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) half a second quicker.
Best known for his Group 1 $1.5 million Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) success in Melbourne on February 24, Written By won his debut at Sandown last September on Heavy going but hasn’t seen worse than a Good (4) since.
A wet track is also a bit of an unknown for the favourite Sunlight whose only Heavy track experience was for her very first trial at Cranbourne in September last year, which she won by two lengths.
The 2018 Longines Golden Slipper runs as Rosehill Race 7 on Saturday with jump time scheduled for 4:10pm (AEDT).