She’s the favourite in Golden Slipper betting for the weekend after winning her past five on the trot but the wet weather in Sydney and possibility of a Heavy Rosehill track for the autumn feature is an unknown for Sunlight according to trainer Tony McEvoy.
Angaston-based horseman McEvoy is in with two chances to take out the iconic Group 1 $3.5 million 2018 Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) on Saturday saddling-up two smart fillies in Sunlight and Oohood.
Zoustar filly Sunlight sits top of the post-barrier Golden Slipper markets at $4.20 through Ladbrokes.com.au, while her still-maiden stablemate Oohood is a $34 outsider to score the upset.
Both fillies drew favourably on Tuesday morning with Sunlight in gate five and the always-honest Oohood, a well-bred daughter of I Am Invincible, in barrier 11.
Sebring (2005) was the last Slipper winner from barrier five, while Oohood’s draw has produced two recent champions in Mossfun (2014) and She Will Reign (2017) last autumn.
It is a capacity Golden Slipper field for Saturday though and if the four emergencies come out, Oohood will come into barrier nine that no winner has jumped form in over 30 years.
With the Golden Slipper barrier draw taken care of, McEvoy’s attention and that of all the trainers now turns to the forecast with Sydney predicted to have heavy rainfall for the rest of the week.
It was a very wet Golden Slipper Day 12 months ago when She Will Reign saluted on a Heavy (10) track and with the big race not taking place until the seventh on Saturday, the track could be doing anything come jump.
Sunlight, to be ridden cone again by Luke Currie, is on the short back-up following her all-the-way victory in last Saturday’s Group 3 Magic Night Stakes (1200m) run and won on a Good (4).
All five of her turf triumphs have been on Good going including her other Rosehill success from February 24 over fellow Slipper rival Estijaab in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) and the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic (1200m) two length win at the Gold Coast in mid-January.
There is hope that this year’s Slipper favourite will handle rain-affected going however, McEvoy pointing out her very first trial at Cranbourne in September last year that she won by two lengths on a Heavy (9).
“It’s an unknown but good horses handle most things,” McEvoy said.
“She trialled on a Heavy 9 at Cranbourne, it was very heavy, and she handled herself well there but it was a trial.”
Oohood meanwhile has Zac Purton coming aboard for the Golden Slipper, which sees her race in Sydney the first time on the back of a string of competitive Melbourne runs.
She has had four starts for two seconds and two thirds, the latest seeing her round out the trifecta behind Written By in the Group 1 $1.5 million Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on February 24.
Oohood trialled at Randwick on March 15 and looked to handle the Heavy going finishing a neck back third over 1045m giving her some experience the other way of racing ahead of Saturday’s acid test.
Blue Diamond champion Written By meanwhile is the danger in Golden Slipper betting on Saturday, the Grahame Begg-trained colt at $4.80 to successfully back-up off his speedy Group 3 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) win at the track and distance last weekend.
A winner of all four of his career starts, the son of Written Tycoon is also a previous winner in the mud at Sandown-Hillside back in December but would prefer firmer going according to Begg.
“We had no inclination before he would handle a heavy track,” he said.
“I feel he is better suited on top of the ground but he has that experience on a rain affected track.”