Godolphin’s four runners have all drawn inside barriers for the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Racing Manager Jason Walsh was on hand at the all important barrier draw at Rosehill Gardens this morning and his boss Sheikh Mohammed would have been pleased with his efforts.
“Very pleased with them. They have all drawn inside ten, so if you can do before the Slipper it will a give them a good start,” Walsh said.
Lonhro colt Exosphere is the most fancied of the Godolphin team, which is prepared by trainer John O’Shea, and came up with barrier ten in the final field of sixteen plus three emergencies.
“On exposed form (Exosphere) definitely. He is an untapped talent and we were just marvelling at him this morning working out at Osbourne Park, you know we haven’t really got to the bottom of him yet so he is a really exciting colt and on exposed form is most likely,” Walsh said.
The emergencies drew seven (Serenade), four (Racy) and seventeen (Heavenly Hand) and if they don’t gain a start Exosphere will jump from gate eight.
James McDonald will ride Exopshere and will be looking for back to back Golden Slipper wins after saluting last year on the Team Hawkes trained Mossfun.
Furnaces will have Hugh Bowman aboard and comes out of the inside gate with Haptic jumping from barrier three with English jockey James Doyle to ride.
Doyle’s fellow countryman William Buick will be aboard Godolphin’s fourth runner, Ottoman, who drew eight in the original drawn and will probably jump from barrier six.
“He (Furnaces) is an on speed runner and he should be able to settle just behind them, that will give him a nice soft cart into the race,” Walsh said.
“As Gai (Waterhouse) said the early stages of these races can be a bit hectic and get caught in a bit of interference but we have an elite rider engaged in Bowman who knows this race very well, he will get his chance from there.”
Walsh also has high expectations for Haptic who is undefeated from two race starts.
“Another horse that just keeps raising. Every time we raise the bar he jumps it. For that reason again he is unexposed too, hasn’t put a foot wrong the entire preparation, both race starts have been outstanding. He will make his presence felt no doubt,” Walsh said.
Exceed And Excel filly Ottoman is the outsider of the Godolphin’s four Golden Slipper runners but Walsh said that the stable was very happy with her progress and wouldn’t be surprised if she was fighting out the finish.
“Very happy with her. This morning she was as bright as John has seen her and could not have been more pleased with her progress,” Walsh said.
“A lot of these horses at one stage or another have been a Slipper favourite. So a very talented and competitive group of horses and we think she will run a hell of a race on Saturday.”
Walsh rates Doyle and Buick as world class riders and said that they were both excited about being a part of Golden Slipper week.
“They are world class riders. Everything that Sheikh Mohammed does is about competing at the elite level and those two jockeys and now James McDonald who last week came on board with Godolphin, it is all about competing,” Walsh said.
“Those two boys are really excited about being here this week and being part of Golden Slipper week.”
The Gai Waterhouse trained Vancouver has drifted slightly in the betting after drawing barrier eighteen in the original draw but remains the favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au at $2.90 with Exosphere the only other runner under double figures at $4.20.
Furnaces is marked as a $13 chance just ahead of Haptic at $14 with Ottoman one of the outsiders in the field at $34.