Golden Slipper

Rosehill, NSW / 1200m / Race 7
Saturday, March 24 at 4:10pm

Golden Slipper:

STATISTICS

The Betting:

Knowledge & Insight

With just four winners in the 61-year history of the Slipper starting $21 (20/1) or longer, roughies only occasionally land the cash.

The most recent blowout was Phelan Ready (2009) at $26 – not a bad price given he was the Magic Millions winner and then runner-up in the Todman Stakes – barrier 16 probably the negative.

Eighteen years earlier (1991), the Blue Diamond runner-up *Flying Spur* was at 25/1 ($26) and gave trainer Lee Freedman his third Slipper in a row.

One then back-tracked to 1967 to find 40/1 ($41) shot Sweet Embrace becoming the longest-priced winner in Slipper history, the Jack and Bob Ingham-owned filly a Maiden going into the race.

The second running of the race in 1958 also produced a boil-over when the raging 2/5 ($1.40) favourite Misting was beaten by the 25/1 ($26) chance Skyline.

The overall picture for the favourite is quite reasonable with the outright market elect scoring on 17 occasions (27.86%) and filling a minor place on another 19 occasions.

A more thorough assessment of this Saturday’s Slipper odds will be supplied in Friday’s Verdict.

Form Focus Verdict

This year’s Magic Millions winner, Sunlight is out to emulate Capitalist, Phelan Ready & Dance Hero, (all boys) as the only Magic Millions winners (18 have tried) to win the Slipper.

Let’s look at the 6 fillies that contested the Slipper after Millions success – Houtzen ($4.40f), Driefontein ($9), Karuta Queen ($11), Military Rose ($3.50f), Augusta Proud ($9) & Bold Promise (9/10f) – all were unable to get into the placings in the Slipper.

At around the $4.20 mark, Sunlight holds a slender grip at the top of the betting – it’s informative to study past Slippers with a similar market structure:

When the Slipper outright favourite is at $4 (3/1) or longer: 20 starters – 4 wins, 4 seconds, 2 thirds, 10 unplaced

The 4 winners – Sebring ($6), Courtza (7/2), Inspired (13/4), Manikato (7/2).

The combination of these stats possibly suggests that Sunlight has some history to overturn on Saturday.

BARRIER POSITIONS:

Knowledge & Insight

The Slipper barrier positions are always much anticipated and the stats do support that drawing an inner gate is an advantage.

Forty-two (68.8%) of the 61 winners drew a single-digit gate with barrier 1 the outright leader with a total of nine wins, followed by gate eight with six wins.

Barrier ten has been quite popular with five wins overall, the same number of wins as gates three and four.

One horse unfortunately will start from a gate that is yet to produce a Slipper winner and we shall take a closer look at this on Friday.

Form Focus Verdict

Eleven previous Slippers have had a genuine Heavy or Slow surface, the winning barriers being:
11-11-1-1-16-5-5-10-15-1-8.

While inner gates do maintain an edge in overall standings, the reality is that by Slipper time on Saturday, it will probably come down to whether your 2yo simply handles the ground or not.

Assuming that the 4 emergencies do not secure a start, it’s down to Performer to turn over the jinx that is barrier 13 (zero wins from 52 starts) in the Slipper.

Gate 15 (Long Leaf) has scored just the one victory in Star Watch (1988), while barrier 9 hasn’t saluted since 1967 when Sweet Embrace landed the money in a field on 19.

Blue Diamond winner Written By comes out of 4, the last time that gate was successful was 1979 (Century Miss).

AGE AND SEX:

Knowledge & Insight

The overall score-line favours the boys with a nine-win advantage over the 61 runnings – 35 to 26.

The first 30 runnings had the boys with a six win lead (18/12), while over the past 31 years the scoreline is 17 for the boys and 14 for the girls.

The original Golden Slipper Set Weight structure provided a seven pounds (three kilos) allowance for the fillies from the colts and geldings (this was double what the Weight For Age scale recommended).

This clearly had little or no influence on the success-rate of the fillies, with the 3kg weight concession being reduced to 2kg in 2005.

Form Focus Verdict

Just four times have the fillies filled the first three positions in the Slipper, 1980, 2003, 2014 and last year 2017 while the boys boast a total of seven, the most recent occurring in 1999.

A filly has started outright favourite on 20 occasions, the 6 winners being Overreach (2013), Courtza (1989), Bounding Away (1986), Toy Show (1975), Hartshill (1974) & Reisling (1965).

The WEIGHTS:

Knowledge & Insight

Conducted at Set Weights, the Golden Slipper Stakes was first run on Saturday, April 6, 1957, with the framework of the race’s conditions apparently being designed three years earlier in 1954.

The Golden Slipper concept was largely attributed to Sydney Turf Club Director George Ryder, who was at the time the proprietor of Woodlands Stud in the Hunter Valley.

Ryder proposed that a six furlong, high stakes feature for two-year-olds would provide a point of difference to the traditional longer Classic races conducted for three-year-olds.

The almost instant success and popularity of the Slipper meant that it rapidly became the Club’s signature race.

And, as good fortune would have it, this was largely due to the very first Golden Slipper winner Todman.

Starting 1/6 favourite (the shortest priced favourite in Slipper history), Todman won eased up by eight lengths – the biggest winning margin in the race’s 61-year history, prompting his rider Neville Sellwood to declare Todman “the greatest 2yo I have ever ridden, and probably the greatest horse of any age I’ve ever ridden”.

The Sydney Turf Club had struck instant gold with their new race being won by Todman.

Form Focus Verdict

Making his debut at Randwick on December 22, 1956, Todman announced himself in stunning style, a ten-length victory, a track record and a new Australian record for five furlongs (1000m).

Four days later, he strolled home by three lengths over 6 furlongs, and was immediately set for the Slipper.

Given a short break, trainer Maurice McCarten elected to run Todman in an Open Welter (6f) at Rosehill, 17 days before the Slipper, *Todman* landing the prize at 5/4f.

The Golden Slipper, in its first year, had a superstar and Todman delivered in awesome fashion.

Two weeks later, he had only two rivals in the AJC Sires Produce (7f) and was again odds-on (1/6f). However, Todman went down by two lengths, defeated by a Tommy Smith-trained colt who would eventually become one of Australia’s greatest ever gallopers – Tulloch.

Revenge was sweet five days later though with Todman belting Tulloch by six lengths in the Champagne Stakes (6f).

Todman’s only defeat in a further six starts was when he broke down as an early 3yo, the horse not racing at four. He took the VRC Lightning and VATC Futurity Stakes at five, before retiring to stud, siring two Golden Slipper winners himself.

Not only is Todman a Hall of Fame member, but so is his trainer Maurice McCarten, rider Neville Sellwood and sire Star Kingdom.

For good measure, the horse’s owner/breeder Stanley Wootton is an Associate Member of the Hall of Fame as part of the Wootton family.

Golden Slipper:

FORM PROFILE

LEAD UP FORM:

Knowledge & Insight

Forty-two of the sixty-one Slipper winners were last start winners (68.8% strike-rate), but bearing in mind that the majority of the field have invariably won their way into their field (courtesy of the Slipper preludes), that’s no surprise.

Interestingly, only 3 of the other 19 Slipper winners missed a place in their final lead-up start, all running fourth – Forensics (2007), Miss Finland (2006) & Prowl (1998).

Isolating the best form-reference for the Slipper is always a monumental challenge, the 2018 Slipper clearly no different to other years and a thorough dissection of the lead-ups will be provided on Friday.

Form Focus Verdict

The unbeaten Written By is the 35th Blue Diamond winner to then contest the Slipper, the colt trying to become just the fifth horse to collect the double.

More specifically, he’s the 22nd Blue Diamond-winning male to tackle the Slipper, the score-line reading 3 wins (Sepoy, Manikato & John’s Hope), 2 seconds and 1 third.

The Silver Slipper this year again fell to a filly, the reigning favourite Sunlight and she’s out to join She Will Reign, Mossfun & Pierro as winners of the Slipper/Slipper double since the Silver Slipper moved from Spring to Autumn in 1998.

The Todman Stakes holds the strongest recent record for producing a Golden Slipper winner, five of the last nine Slipper winners coming via the Todman. This year’s Todman quinella of Aylmerton & Ef Troop are relative outsiders in current betting.

JOCKEY:

Knowledge & Insight

A total of 41 jockeys have won a Golden Slipper, Ron Quinton and Shane Dye sharing top of the leader-board with four wins, Dye’s victories coming in successive years – 1989 to 1992.

Equal second on three wins are Mick Dittman, Kevin Langby & Athol Mulley, while George Moore, Roy Higgins, Glen Boss & Darren Beadman have each won two.

We’ll run an eye across the jockeys involved in 2018 and compare their Slipper records on Friday.

Form Focus Verdict

Riding the two top fancies in the 2018 Slipper, Luke Currie & Jordan Childs have both yet to ride in a Slipper.

Selected Jockeys and their Slipper records:

H.Bowman (13 rides) 0-0-1; only placing was on Meurice (2007)

D.Oliver (19 rides) 1-1-4; won on Forensics (2007), runner-up on Crowned Glory (2000)

T.Berry (7 rides) 2-1-0; both his winners started favourite – Vancouver & Overreach

K.McEvoy (10 rides) 1-2-1; 5 rides on $11 (or shorter) for 1-2-1

B.Shinn (5 rides) 1-1-0; won on Capitalist (2016), runner-up on English (2015)

C.Williams (11 rides) 1-3-0; has finished in the first five in 6 of 11 rides

TRAINER:

Knowledge & Insight

It took fourteen years and three Slipper placings before the “King” of Sydney trainers T.J. (Tommy) Smith won his first Slipper with the filly Fairy Walk in 1971.

Smith then won three of the next four, missing out in 1973 when his undefeated colt Imagele (a raging hot favourite at 4/9), was involved in a three-horse fall before the turn. Smith’s other two winners were Bounding Away in 1986 (which he bred and owned) and Star Watch in 1988.

He thus held the Slipper training record (6) and it took his daughter Gai Waterhouse to match this record, Vancouver delivering a sixth Slipper to the Waterhouse stable in 2015.

Waterhouse’s first Slipper success in 2001 was a phenomenal milestone when she produced the first three across the line – Ha Ha, Excellerator and Red Hannigan.

Clarry Conners, Bart Cummings & Lee Freedman have all prepared a quartet of Slipper winners, Freedman’s four coming in consecutive years, 1993 to 1996.

Form Focus Verdict

Four stables provide half the field of 16 in 2018 – Chris Waller, Tony McEvoy, Mick Price and the Hayes/Dabernig (Lindsay Park) partnership.

Lindsay Park have a long association with the Slipper, their first placing occurring in 1976 when the filly Desirable was third as 6/4 favourite. Two further minor placings occurred before Rory’s Jester scored in 1985.

Further placings were recorded in 1991, 1992 & 1994, Miss Finland breaking the drought in 2006, stablemate Churchill Downs third. The stable has had a further three placings since 2006.

HORSE:

Knowledge & Insight

Sweet Embrace (1967) was the first Maiden to claim the Slipper and she was quickly followed up in 1971 when Fairy Walk won as a Maiden for Tommy Smith and George Moore -there hasn’t been a Maiden Golden Slipper winner since.

Just 9 of the first 48 Slipper winners had three starts or less before Slipper glory, eight having had three prior starts with one (a filly) having had just two starts before her Slipper success.

That trend has turned around since 2005 with 46% of the winners (6 of 13) having just three starts before winning the Slipper.

The prize for the most number of starts before Slipper triumph goes to a filly in the sixties who won the Slipper on her eleventh start – Friday’s Verdict will reveal which horse that is, plus the filly that won at just her third career start.

Form Focus Verdict

Only one horse contests this year’s Slipper on just its third career outing – Aylmerton, Tommy Smith’s filly Toy Show (1975) the only Slipper winner to score at start number three.

Scoring by 5 lengths on debut 31 days before the Slipper, Toy Show, then bolted up by 4 lengths in the Magic Night Quality, a week before the Slipper.

Channelling brother Tommy, stable foreman Ernie Smith offered “she will win the Slipper pulling up…….she is a champion”.

Starting 2/1f and from gate 14, Toy Show trounced her stablemate Denise’s Joy by two lengths and finished her 2yo season undefeated, taking the AJC Sires Produce Stakes at her next outing.

A decade earlier, and in stark contrast, the filly Reisling started evens favourite in winning the 1965 Slipper, her eighth victory at her eleventh career start.

Golden Slipper:

TOP THREE

Form Focus Verdict

A typically open Slipper again this year and Form Focus has settled on an unfashionably bred youngster at double-figure odds.

Queensland youngster Ef Troop may have had his colours lowered by Aylmerton in the Todman, but Slipper winners often have a “flattish” run as their lead-up, examples being She Will Reign, Capitalist, Sepoy, Forensics, Miss Finland, Prowl, Star Watch, Sir Dapper and Marsay – all were beaten as favourite before Slipper success.

The son of Spirit of Boom was having his first outing since his fourth in the Magic Millions in January (when he led at a suicidal speed) and no doubt will derive great benefit off his Todman hit-out.

Blue Diamond-winner Written By demonstrated what a top-class colt he is in that race, overcoming a wide draw, then showing superior acceleration to score a most dominant victory.

Eleven other Blue Diamond winners have progressed to the Slipper unbeaten and only Tommy Smith, courtesy of John’s Hope and Bounding Away, has been able to maintain a 2yos unblemished record post-Slipper.

There is something freakish about what Sunlight has already achieved, this beautifully built filly also on a seven-day back-up like Written Tycoon, something that only four out of the past 30 Slipper winners have been able to do.

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