Master trainer Clarry Connors is once again relying on his expertise with two year olds to secure a Golden Slipper berth for his injury prone filly Assail with a win in the Group 3 $125,000 Les Johnson Memorial Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m) at Warwick Farm tomorrow.
The winner of the Sweet Embrace is exempt from a ballot for the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on April 6 and would provide a smooth path towards the richest two year old race in the world.
Connors has been battling to get Assail fit after she developed a foot abscess while on the Gold Coast in January and had to be scratched from the $2m BMW Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m) on race morning when a raging short priced favourite.
Assail went to the Gold Coast following her sensational win in the $200,000 Wyong Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1100m) at Wyong on December 20 and had impressed jockey Craig Williams in her lead up gallops so much that he declared her a genuine Golden Slipper filly.
Sydney jockey Peter Robl will be back aboard the Charge Forward filly tomorrow after partnering her in her Wyong victory and is confident that Connors has returned the filly to top fitness.
“She trialled really well, she took a sit on her and she relaxed nicely,” Robl said.
“She galloped very well last Monday and is in top order coming into Saturday.”
Robl has great admiration for Connors knowing that he has already trained four Golden Slipper winners, Tierce (1991), Burst (1992), Prowl (1998) and Belle Du Jour (2000).
“Clarry has got a little idea about getting one ready for the Golden Slipper,” Robl said.
“He knows where Assail has to be in her preparation to be competitive for the Slipper and she seems to be going really well.”
Robl will be able to take full advantage of the inside barrier and if he didn’t want to lead would be able to take a sit on the fence just behind the pace.
“Barrier one at her home track is a definite plus,” Robl said.
“I’d sooner be there than ten so she should be able to jump out and roll along at a nice even tempo that will suit her so it’s a great barrier for her.”
“When we trialled her the other day we took a sit on her so realistically if she made the Golden Slipper field and drew a favourable barrier, she’d quite easily be able to take a sit and she’d relax doing it.”
Assail is currently a $15 chance in the Golden Slipper market order and with a convincing win in the Sweet Embrace will put pressure on the favourite Overreach ($4.40) and Villa Verde ($7) for the top spot.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Overreach and Shaun Dwyer’s Villa Verde can sort out the favouritism battle next week when that clash in the Group 2 $300,000 Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill.
Assail is a $2.60 favourite for the Sweet Embrace ahead of the Chris Waller trained Calming Influence at $3.70 with Romantic Moon the next in the betting at $6.50.