The world's richest 2-year-old race, the $2.8 million (U.S.) Golden Slipper Stakes (Aus-I) over 1,200 meters (six furlongs) run at Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, takes place this Saturday.
It has attracted a field of 16.
Redoute's Choice (Danehill-Shantha's Choice) the history making second crop sire, is responsible for six of the runners, including the first three favorites.
Thus far, Redoute's Choice has sired 10 individual stakes winners this season. He is completely dominating what is the best gathering of 2-year-old sires in Australia's history. In short, he is already being spoken of as the greatest sire influence the Southern Hemisphere has ever seen. Big words, but his turnover of star juveniles simply defies logic. From 31 juvenile runners, he has had 17 individual winners with 10 of them winning at stakes level.
A fact completely lost in the dust of Redoute's Choice, is the fact that Ashford and Coolmore's Fusaichi Pegasus
, with his debut crop of runners in the Southern Hemisphere, will be represented by three runners in the Slipper, a freshman record.
At Tuesday's barrier draw the Fu Peg babies came up with barriers 1, 7 and 16. His three will be longshots, but all of them have a chance. Dr Green (ex Palia by Last Tycoon) has drawn the rails, a talented racehorse whose racing manners seem to be his biggest problem. He is hard to handle and doesn't like being loaded. Three times in his five-race career he has set off at barrier rise like a gazelle being chased by a lion. He carves out fractions while taking complete control of his rider that are mind-boggling and as a consequence gets very weary over the last furlong in the top company. If he controls his race day passion and gets cover behind the speed, he may well represent a good wager.
Flying Pegasus (ex Cashier by Danehill) is gifted and already has a group II juvenile race win to his credit. He drew the extreme outside gate and will need luck in running. At Rosehill, if you travel wide, you lose.
Fu Peg's other runner is the lightly raced filly Poetic Genius (ex Sprinkler by Danehill). She's only had three runs and is group II placed but shows great promise. This lot may be too fast for her early but she is improving with each start.
Redoute's Choice, who covered an Australian record 212 mares last season and who will have his fee raised from $40,000 to $160,000 this year, is represented by the two favorites in the Slipper: Snitzel (Snippet's Lass by Snippets) and Fashions Afield (ex Attire by Wild Again). Between them this pair has raced eight times for seven wins – three at group level. The colt Snitzel will be favored as he has had a boom on him from day one. He is very fast and has a powerful finishing kick but will have to overcome gate 12.
The filly Fashions Afield is owned by Vinery's Dr. Tommy Simon, who last week sold all his Australian weanlings and on April 3 will sell all his Australian owned broodmares, too. If Fashions Afield wins, and thus far she is three from three as a result of brilliant gate speed and tenacious front-running talent, Simon will be forced into a dilemma.
"Most likely if she wins for us she will head to the United States to continue her racing," he mused.
Being from an American-bred mare, she would be a potential multi-million dollar broody for Vinery US should she land the chocolates on Saturday. And she has a great chance stepping from gate 3.
The oddly named Mnemosyne (by Encosta de Lago) could be the one to beat. She is currently a 10-1 chance but from barrier 10 will get a good cart into the race and has a strong finishing burst.
And Coolmore, who owns Encosta de Lago, have a great knack at upsetting the favored way.