This weekend's Golden Slipper Day at Sydney's Rosehill Gardens Racecourse looks to be one for the history books. Australian super mare Winx, currently joint-best race horse in the world alongside Gun Runner, is looking to become the world record-holder for flat G1 wins by winning the George Ryder Stakes. If she can capture her 24th straight win over 3 year-old colt Kementari, the 6 year-old mare will have also dethroned US galloper John Henry, holder of the world standard of 16 majors.
Golden Slipper Day also features the G1 Golden Slipper Stakes, the richest race for 2-year olds in the world, and three other G1 races: The Galaxy, Ranvet Stakes, and Rosehill Guineas. Sunlight is on track to become the third filly after Mossfun (2014) and She Will Reign (2017) to win the Silver Slipper-Golden Slipper double this weekend.
G1 George Ryder Stakes
Ahead of Sunlight's record attempt in the Golden Slipper Stakes, the spotlight is on the highly anticipated clash between Winx and Godolphin star Kementari in the $1 million AUD ($779,000) George Ryder Stakes. The 7 ½ furlong race runs at 2:45 p.m. Sydney time on Saturday, March 24th (12:45 a.m. midnight EDT, or 9:45 p.m. PST on Friday, March 23rd).
A winner in the previous two George Ryders, Australia's champion mare Winx now seeks to surpass American stallion John Henry's all-time winning streak of 16 G1 wins in the 1980s. These included a hat-trick in the Oak Tree Turf Championship from 1980 to 1982, and also the Hollywood Invitational Handicap (1980, 1981 and 1984). Winx's own hat-trick in the Chipping Norton Stakes earlier this month equaled the Kentucky-foaled John Henry's G1 run, and now trainer Chris Waller is bent on extending his prize mare's record.
“It was this race last year where she ran her peak rating and I would think everything points to her going just as well going into the race this year,” says Winx's New Zealand-born trainer. “She has had the perfect preparation and her gallop on Saturday was perfect.”
Waller's star mare and regular jockey Hugh Bowman are the 1/10 favorite to win a third-straight George Ryder, while the bookies have Godolphin's Kementari as the 7/1 second favorite. Godolphin is currently reaping the rewards of their investment made in the 3 year-old colt being hailed as Australian racing's next big thing – and ranked 7th best racehorse globally by Longines.
Kementari brought the racing stable three dominant wins in the G3 Eskimo Prince Stakes, G2 Hobartville Stakes and G1 Randwick Guineas in preparation for the George Ryder and should be the perfect challenger for Winx.
Happy Clapper is currently third on betting lines at 14/1. The 7-year-old is another success story from Down Under, having already won 10 races including the 2018 G1 Canterbury Stakes earlier this month.
G1 Longines Golden Slipper Stakes
The focus then turns to the Golden Slipper at 4:10 p.m. Sydney time on Saturday, March 24th (1:10 a.m. EDT, or 10:10 p.m. PST on Friday, March 23rd). Ahead of the 6-furlong race, two-year-old filly Sunlight has edged closer to matching Mossun's and She Will Reign's record of a Silver Slipper-Golden Slipper double.
Last weekend, she secured a 1¼ lengths victory over Cristobal and Sweet Ava in the G3 Magic Night Stakes, also at Rosehill. The race extended her winning streak to an unbeaten five, including the QTIS 2-Year Old Handicap, the Magic Millions Classic and the G2 Silver Slipper.
Jockey Luke Currie considered the Magic Night Stakes showed a glimpse of the racer the star filly could become in the $3.5 million AUD ($2.7 million) Golden Slipper. “She was really quick early, even a little bit keen so hopefully that run takes the edge off her for next week,” he says.
Sunlight will be looking over her shoulder at the brilliant colt Written By, who emerged as the winner of the Pago Pago Stakes, running a half second quicker than the filly in that race. Written By also aims to headline this day of possible personal bests with the first Blue Diamond/Slipper double since Sepoy in 2012.
Written By's and Sunlight's prospects of winning have also been made brighter by drawing ideal barriers. Written By will jump from gate 4. Trainer Grahame Begg says this gives his colt every chance to run well in a very competitive Slipper Stakes. With Sunlight drawing gate 5, the two horses will be eyeballing each other from the start. Sunlight, though, remains the Slipper favorite at 5/2 to win over Written By, with 9/2 odds.
Rounding out the top four are the Chris Waller-trained Performer (13/2, barrier 16), followed by Seabrook (barrier 12) ridden by Hugh Bowman, and Santos (barrier 7), both at 15/2.
The live coverage of all races scheduled for the Golden Slipper Day, including the G1 Ranvet Stakes, the G1 Rosehill Guineas and the G1 The Galaxy, will be available online at ADWs such as TVG, TwinSpires, Xpressbet, NYRA Bets, WatchandWager, HPIbet, AmWager, and BetAmerica. The races will also be broadcasted live on TVG, with Sky Racing World providing free expert picks and past performances.
About David Haslett
A former Managing Director of Sportech Racing, David was appointed President and CEO of Sky Racing World in April 2014. The Louisville, Kentucky-based company, a subsidiary of Australian wagering firm Tabcorp, provides Australian, New Zealand, South African and South American racing content for simulcast horse-race wagering to multiple North America-facing ADW brands and race-tracks.
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