Warwick Farm trainer Bjorn Baker has no concerns that Unencumbered will be able to overcome a wide Golden Slipper barrier draw at Rosehill on Saturday.
Unencumbered came up with barrier fourteen in the original draw on Tuesday but is likely to jump from gate thirteen if the first emergency Scratch Me Lucky doesn’t gain a start in the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m).
Baker says that Unencumbered’s versatility will help overcome the awkward barrier and jockey Craig Williams will be able to decide in the early stages of the race if he is to go forward or go back in the field.
“He can forward or go back, he has really good gate speed,” Baker told the Sportsman.
“There seems to be a fair bit of pace out wide, he is adaptable and he can relax well regardless.”
Baker has added blinkers to the Magic Millions 2yo Classic winner following his second to Ghibellines in the Group 2 $300,000 The Other Woman Todman Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 22 and that could prove to be the winning move for the Testa Rossa colt.
Williams, who rode the colt in the Todman Stakes, was pleased with his work with the blinkers on Saturday and Tuesday mornings.
“He had an experience with them on Saturday morning and worked with them on Tuesday and then he’ll got into the Slipper first time with blinkers,” Williams said.
“I was really comfortable with the blinkers going on into the Slipper. We’ll only know if it’s right or wrong after the Slipper.”
Baker has been happy with the Golden Slipper preparation with the only hiccup being the change of jockey after regular rider Nathan Berry fell ill in Singapore two weeks ago and with his passing during the week emotions are certain to overflow if Unencumbered can collect the major prize.
“It’s been a dream run except for what’s happened with Nathan,” Baker told AAP.
“Craig’s a great rider. We’re lucky to have him but at the same time it’s bittersweet.
“Nathan’s a good friend so it’s very tough.”
The Peter Snowden trained Earthquake continues to ease in the betting but is still the clear cut $2.70 favourite for the Golden Slipper with Ladbrokes.com.au in front of the Team Hawkes trained Mossfun who has firmed into $4.00.
The Peter Moody trained Bring Me The Maid has been solid at $11 just ahead of Earthquake’s stable mate Ghibellines at $13, Cornrow at $15, Unencumbered at $17 and Oakleigh Girl at $18.