The 2014 Golden Slipper odds of Ghibellines are set to shorten significantly after he scored an upset victory in the Todman Stakes at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon.
Ghibellines was friendless in betting after he finished a disappointing fifth in the Listed Black Opal Stakes (1200m) in Canberra on March 9, but showed impressive acceleration to storm past Unencumbered in the final stages of the race.
The Shamardal colt blew the start in the Todman Stakes, but trainer Peter Snowden was delighted with the way the half-brother to Guelph finished off the race and confirmed that the juvenile would press on to the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on April 5.
“I was the first to put my hand up after Canberra because I thought that he was very disappointing,” Snowden said.
“We threw a lot of work into him over the last couple of weeks; we went all over the horse physically and mentally, so he was starting to harden up.
“We didn’t miss him and it paid dividends.
“It was a good effort, he had to dig deep and his sectionals would have been very good.
“He has the talent, but he just lacks the bit of brains up top to be able to take advantage of it properly.
“You would have to give him a crack at it (the Golden Slipper), but he is definitely going to be a better horse next time in.
“This is only the start of what is to come later on, but it is a good start today.”
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy is expected to ride Blue Diamond Stakes winner Earthquake in the Golden Slipper but believes that Ghibellines cannot be counted out of the race, especially if it is run at a good tempo, after showing his impressive turn-of-foot in the Todman Stakes this afternoon.
“He has obviously come on from his race at Canberra; Pete got a bit tough on him,” McEvoy said.
“He fluffed the start today, but he was very good finishing.
“Today he was ridden quiet and I got him in a nice enough rhythm and he really built up underneath around the bend.
“He was strong from about the 400 to home, so a quick run Slipper could really suit him.”
Magic Millions Classic winner Unencumbered was well-backed in the lead-up to the Todman Stakes and looked as though he had the race won when he flew down the outside with 300 metres left to run, but was unable to go with Ghibellines in the final stages of the race.
Mick Price-trained Cornrow produced an eye-catching run late and will head into the Golden Slipper with back-to-back third place finishes to his name.