Europe’s number one sprinter Slade Power will have to be on his best barrier behaviour if he is to win the Group 1 $1m Darley Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
The super Irish sprinter is taking on the best Australia has to offer up the Flemington straight including the world’s highest rated sprinter Lankan Rupee as well as Group 1 performers Buffering, Temple Of Boom, Moment Of Change, Rebel Dane, Famous Seamus, Driefontein and Platetlet as well as the emerging stars Chautauqua and Terravista.
Slade Power is a noted barrier rogue back in Europe but trainer Edward Lynam seems to have corrected the problem with a tried and tested routine.
Back home Slade Power is loaded in the starting gates last with a hood placed over his head which is pulled off by his rider when the gates open.
But while Victoria Racing Stewards will allow jockey Wayne Lordan to remove the hood at the start, they have instructed the Irish team that Slade Power will to be loaded in barrier order, keeping with the local rules.
“In the UK they are accustomed to the rider pulling off the blindfold rather than what we do here with our barrier attendants,” chief steward Terry Bailey told Racing Network.
“We are happy for that to play out like the jockey (Lordan) is used to doing it so we will leave it for him to do.”
Slade Power has drawn barrier four in the thirteen horse field which will be split into two sections, loading from barriers one to seven and eight to thirteen in that order at the same time.
That means that Slade Power will be the fourth horse into the barriers, not the last as Lynam would like.
“The same process will be followed as we normally do with loading horses,” Bailey said.
“We have a proven system that has worked well for a long time and that is that the horses go up in barrier order and I don’t see that we should have to make any special considerations.”
“It can’t be any fairer.”
Slade Power is currently a $7 chance for the Darley Classic with Ladbrokes.com.au who have the Team Hawkes trained Chautauqua the $2.30 favourite.
The Mick Price trained Lankan Rupee is the second pick at $5 with Terravista at $11 and Buffering at $14.