Blinkers will be the key to the performance of top Golden Slipper fancy Vancouver when he kicks off his Autumn Carnival campaign in the Group 3 $150,000 Canonbury Stakes (1100m).
Vancouver will start his countdown towards the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on March 21 at the same track on Saturday with jockey Tommy Berry saying the youngster is a different horse with the blinkers on.
“Vancouver is a very laid-back type and needs them to help him switch on,’’ Berry told The Daily Telegraph.
“He is a quality colt. He has been very impressive in his track gallops, and I know Gai has a big rap on him — everyone at the stable does.”
The Gai Waterhouse trained colt scored an impressive win at his first race start with Tye Angland in the Listed $100,000 NSW Thoroughbred Breeders’ Plate (1000m) at Randwick on October 4 and was then sent for a spell.
Vancouver wore the blinkers that day but was hoodless when Berry partnered him when fourth in a Randwick 1050m barrier trial on January 15 but will be wearing them again on Saturday.
Following his win in the Breeder’s Plate, Vancouver has been well placed high up in the market order for the Golden Slipper with Ladbrokes.com.au at $13, and Berry says that the stable agrees and rates the Medaglia D’Oro colt highly.
“He’s a bit like Pierro and all the other good two-year-olds Gai has had because he is a pleasure to ride. Everyone wants to be on his back and take him for a spin,” Berry said.
“But he has still won just the one race so has to go out there and prove himself (tomorrow).’’
Vancouver is the only winner in the six horse Canonbury Stakes field but is coming up against some well-bred first starters from some of the leading Sydney stables, including stablemate Ulster, a colt by Star Witness.
Peter and Paul Snowden will saddle up Outreach, a full brother to 2013 Golden Slipper winner Overreach, and the Exceed And Excel colt has shown early ability with a win in a 900m Rosehill trial on January 20.
Canonbury Stakes rival Mawahibb from the Team Hawkes stable, and the John O’Shea trained Chamarel finished second and third to Outreach in the Rosehill trial and all three are well up in the market order for Saturday.
The John Sargent trained Cashing Up, a colt by Ad Valorem, has trialled twice for two third in preparation for his racing debut.
Canonbury Stakes market order with Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.90 Outreach, $3.70, Vancouver, $4 Mawahibb, $5.50 Chamarel, $7 Ulster, $21 Cashing Up.