Melbourne jockey Craig Newitt is banking on a good barrier draw for Oakleigh Girl when final acceptances are taken tomorrow for the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Oakleigh Girl has shown in her four race starts to date that she has the early speed to race on the pace and Newitt sees a reasonable draw will help her chances significantly.
“I think it will come down to barriers,” Newitt told AAP.
“If she can draw well she’ll put herself on the speed and I’m sure she’s fit enough.”
Eagle Farm trainer Danny Bougoure has shelved the traditional Golden Slipper lead races and will send Oakleigh Girl into Saturday’s $3.5 million contest first up.
Bougoure sent the Snitzel filly for a short freshen up after running second to Unencumbered in the $2m Magic Millions 2yo Classic (1200m) at the Gold Coast on January 11 and has given her two barrier trials for her Golden Slipper preparation.
Newitt has been aboard Oakleigh Girl in three of her four starts as well as riding her in the two recent barrier trial wins at Warwick Farm and Rosehill and says she has improved since her Gold Coast second.
“I’m rapt with her,” Newitt said.
“She has had two trials and both have been really good. And the horse that won the colts race (Pago Pago Stakes) on Saturday finished behind her the other day.”
“She has definitely improved since then.”
“Physically she has improved too. She’s a big girl now and she’ll acquit herself well.”
Oakleigh Girl beat Time For War by five lengths in the 1030m Rosehill trial on March 21 with the Gerald Ryan trained colt coming out last Saturday to win the Group 2 $175,000 Bowermans Office Furniture Pago Pago Stakes (1200m).
Oakleigh Girl looked well above average in winning on debut with Newitt up the Flemington straight on Melbourne Cup day last year when she led all of the way to take out the Group 3 $120,000 7News Plate (1000m).
Leading Brisbane jockey Michael Cahill then took over when she won the Listed $100,000 Channel Seven Calaway Gal Stakes (1010m) at Doomben on December 14 before Newitt hopped back on for her final lead up to the Magic Millions 2yo Classic for a fourth to Unencumbered in the Group 3 $150,000 B.J. McLachlan Stakes (1200m) at Doomben on December 28.
Oakleigh Girl is currently marked as a $16 chance for the Golden Slipper at Ladbrokes.com.au with the Peter Snowden trained Earthquake the undisputed favourite at $1.90.
Mossfun from the Team Hawkes stable is the second pick at $7 ahead of Unencumbered at $12, Ghibellines at $13 while last Saturday’s Magic Night Stakes winner Bring Me The Maid is a $17 chance alongside of the Mick Price trained Cornrow.