Juveniles go for gold
THE A$2 million Golden Slipper is unique to Australia, not only because it is the world's richest race for two-year-olds, but also because of its emphasis and hype.
Nowhere else in the world is a juvenile race held in such high esteem.
If the winner happens to be a colt, then the studs line up to sign on the youngster as a future stallion.
For a filly, it will guarantee her sons and daughters and their sons and daughters a value that will restrict them to only the wealthiest of owners.
The Slipper, run on the tight Rosehill track, has grown amazingly in stature.
Today's race sees owners and trainers at both ends of the scale.
The 11-4 favourite is Bint Marscay, a chestnut filly by Marscay, trained by the Group One specialist Lee Freedman and owned by Sheik Rashid Bin Rashid Al Nayhar - the new sheik on the Australian racing scene.
In contrast there is Ian Harrison, the earth moving contractor who part-owns and trains horses for hobby.
The recession has forced Harrison, who lives in the Melbourne suburb of Sunbury, off his earth moving machinery into the stables and along came a colt named Kaltrice.
The colt, who cost A$60,000 as a yearling is 8-1 fourth favourite.
The barrier draw has made life tough for Bint Marscay. She will come from barrier 14.
Freedman believes the draw is awkward, virtually forcing the filly, ridden by Mick Dittman, to settle back in the field.
''You can't go forward from out there at Rosehill,'' he said.
Freedman, ever the optimist, sees some good out of the draw. ''The Slipper is usually a rough house affair, maybe she is better out there, away from the trouble,'' he said.
The second favourite at 4-1 is the John Hawkes trained colt Justice Prevails, who followed his Group One Blue Diamond Stakes third with a terrific win in the Todman Slipper Trial at Rosehill, beating Kaltrice in 1:09:29 for the 1,200 metres.