An exceptional day of racing looms on Saturday with the Golden Slipper race day at Rosehill.
Including the feature race there are five Group One races on the program with excellent fields one and all.
The weather is expected to be rainy in Sydney, so the track will most probably be rated slow to heavy, which makes selection of possible winners somewhat tricky as you cannot always rely on wet track form especially where outstanding performers are concerned.
A race for two year olds over 1200 metres, the Golden Slipper looks to have a really good field of well performed colts and fillies in pretty much equal numbers. I have been watching the lead up races with interest and four runners stand out from the rest – colts, Reward for Effort and Real Saga and fillies, More Joyous and Rostova. There are any number of scenarios one can imagine, such as the two fillies fighting out the finish or the two colts, or a colt and one of the fillies or all four of them. But quite possibly none of those scenarios will occur and another colt like Manhattan Rain (an appropriate name if it is wet) or filly, Indian Ocean, for instance, may well win.
But before the Slipper is run, there are several other interesting races. Firstly, there will be the Vinery Stud Storm Queen Stakes - a race for three year old fillies over 2000 metres. Gallica will be gunning for a hat trick and will have stiff competition from the likes of Gold Water, Love and Kisses, Il Quello Veloce, Glowlamp and Purple (the last, only selected on the basis of liking her name).
The Queen of the Turf Stakes (1500 metres) is for fillies and mares. The field includes such stars as Forensics (herself a Golden Slipper winner in 2007 and winner of Queen of the Turf last year) and Hot Danish. It is hard to choose between these two, but Culminate, recently second behind Typhoon Tracy in the Coolmore Classic, the consistent Gallant Tess, Judged and Champagne Harmony all have a chance, of, if not winning, running a place.
A time honoured race, The BMW over 2400 metres has Viewed and Theseo in competition once again. I think Viewed has an excellent chance in this with the extra 400 metres in distance. The wonderful mare Zarita also can’t be overlooked, and Road To Rock with Glen Boss in the saddle may cause a boilover.
The George Ryder Stakes has been won the last few years by my favourite horses of the time. Last year it was Weekend Hussler, the year before it was Haradasun. This year there are eleven Group One winners competing in the field of fifteen starters. These include All Silent, Whobegotyou, Alamosa, Light Fantastic, Littorio, Mentality, Northern Meteor, Pompeii Ruler, Sarrera, Triple Honour and New Zealander King Mufhasa. It has all the makings of a fantastic race and it is very hard to pick the winner.
My heart will be with Light Fantastic, though he faces stiff competition from the likes of All Silent, Alamosa and the colt Whobegotyou. Grey horses have always been considered as good goers in the wet, so the grey factor may be in Light Fantastic’s favour.