Jockey Tommy Berry’s chances of winning his first Golden Slipper have skyrocketed after favourite Overreach drew perfectly at barrier one in the world’s richest two year old race at Rosehill on Saturday.
The Gai Waterhouse trained Overreach has been at the head of the markets for the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) after winning her two Autumn appearances by a combined ten lengths and Berry will only have to get the Exceed And Excel filly out of the gates cleanly to put his name on the trophy.
Overreach had led easily in both her Rosehill wins and heads into the Golden Slipper in superb order after beating Villa Verde by four and a quarter lengths in the Group 2 $300,000 Moet & Chandon Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 23.
“She’s got very good gate speed so we’ll be able to put her right up there on the pace and hopefully she doesn’t gets crunched early on,” Berry said.
“She’s pretty much jumped a half length to a length in front both times. She’s very professional and she will definitely be right up there.”
Waterhouse will saddle up three runners in the quest to win her fifth Golden Slipper and as well as putting the final polish on Overreach, will be represented with Sweet Idea, to be ridden by the in-form Jim Cassidy and Whittington with Nash Rawiller in the saddle.
Cassidy agrees that Overreach is the one to beat but hasn’t conceded defeat and gives his mount Sweet Idea a chance of causing an upset after drawing barrier four.
“She’ll start favourite from one alley,” Cassidy said of Overreach after drawing the inside gate.
“She looks great at the track, I’ve seen her at the track the last couple of weeks, she’s done nothing but improve. She’s obviously the one to beat.”
But Cassidy was quick to sum up the positives for Sweet Idea saying that the Snitzel filly could be the knock out runner in the sixteen horse field.
“She’s done great, she won the Silver Slipper on a bog track, she trialled very good a fortnight ago here at Randwick. She’s just continued to improve, she looks great and if I give her a nice ride and follow Tommy he might sort of take me right to the furlong.”
“It’s a funny race the Slipper, it’s won at one end of the race, won at the bottom of the straight. You have to have luck in running.”
“If we get that, I think I’m on the knock out.”
If Cassidy can score an upset win, it will be his second Golden Slipper after winning on Ha Ha in 2001, one of Waterhouse’s four Golden Slipper successes.
Waterhouse also claimed the Slipper trophy last year with super colt Pierro, in 2008 with Sebring and in 2004 with Dance Hero.
Whittington drew the worst of Waterhouse’s three runners and Rawiller will no doubt come out of barrier ten positively and look for a spot better than midfield in the run to the first turn.
Overreach continues to dominate the betting after the barrier draw at $2.15 with the Todman Stakes winner Criterion the closest in the market at $11.
Victorian filly Villa Verde is on the next line of betting at $12 and will have the job ahead of her coming out of gate fifteen, and shares that quote with last Saturday’s Pago Pago Stakes winner Sidestep with New Zealand filly Ruud Awakening at $13.
Stablemates Sweet Idea and Whittington are at $15 just ahead of second emergency Il Cavallo at $16.