Sport Racing Golden Slipper tips: Fledgling trainer aims for Group 1 glory
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Golden Slipper tips: Fledgling trainer aims for Group 1 glory

golden slipper 2018
One of the favourites, Sunlight, who has won her past five outings. Photo: AAP
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He’s less than 12 months into his training career, yet Hawkesbury trainer Brad Widdup is a strong chance to notch his first Group-1 win at Rosehill on Saturday.

And it just so happens to be in the world’s richest race for two-year-olds – the $3.5 million Golden Slipper.

Widdup worked for a number of stables, including Godolphin for Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and ruler of Dubai), before going it alone as a trainer in May last year.

He will saddle up $13 chance Sandbar, a colt that has won two of his four starts, and gave Slipper favourite Written By one hell of a fright in last week’s Pago Pago Stakes.

“It would be a great thrill to win it,” Widdup told The New Daily.

“He’s a really tough little character and deserves his place in the field.”

Christian Reith, Widdup’s brother-in-law, will ride Sandbar in the 1200-metre feature.

Widdup is hoping Sandbar will become the 11th Group-1 winner in Australia this season to start at $10 or more.

Remarkably, of the 43 races at the top level, only 13 favourites have won, with some of the winners starting at massive odds – Mighty Boss won the Caulfield Guineas at $101, Harlem won the Australian Cup at $61, Caulfield Cup winner Boom Time was $51.

One man hoping to buck that trend is jockey Luke Currie, who partners Slipper favourite Sunlight.

After placing third on debut, the filly has won her past five outings.

“She’s the best two-year-old I’ve ridden,” Currie told The New Daily.

“She’s pretty fast.

“If she handles the wet, I’m confident she will run a mighty race.”

Less than 90 minutes before the Slipper, champion mare Winx will almost certainly win her 24th consecutive race (and 17th Group 1) when she squares off against a small field in the George Ryder Stakes.

Runner-by-runner form guide (ratings based on the track being rated ‘slow’)

  1. Written By (Barrier 4, Form: 1×111)
    Trainer: Grahame Begg, Jockey: Jordan Childs
    Top colt. Will take beating.
  2. Santos (Barrier 7, Form: 34×11)
    Trainer: Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott, Jockey: Tim ClarkGai has won the race six times. Good hope.
  3. Aylmerton (Barrier 8, Form: 11)
    Trainer: Jean Dubois, Jockey: Tommy Berry
    Each way chance.
  4. Long Leaf (Barrier 19, Form: 11×10)Trainer: Trainer: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig, Jockey: Blake Shinn
    Place chance.
  5. Performer (Barrier 16, Form: 1x1L)
    Trainer: Chris Waller, Jockey: Hugh Bowman
    Threw jockey off last start. Can win if he behaves.
  6. Ef Troop (Barrier 2, Form: 1142)
    Trainer: Tony Gollan, Jockey: Jason Collett
    Each way hope.
  7. Prairie Fire (Barrier 6, Form: 314)
    Trainer: Mick Price, Jockey: Mark Zahra
    Prepared to risk.
  8. Sandbar (Barrier 3, Form: 1162)
    Trainer: Brad Widdup, Jockey: Christian Reith
    Tested Written By last start. Can win.
  9. Enbihaar (Barrier 15, Form: 112)
    Trainer: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig, Jockey: Stephen Baster
    Not hopeless.
  10. Sunlight (Barrier 5, Form: 3×11111)
    Trainer: Tony McEvoy, Jockey: Luke Currie
    Star filly. Will take a power of beating.
  11. Estijaab (Barrier 17, Form: 121)
    Trainer: Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes, Jockey: Brenton Avdulla
    Serious contender.
  12. Oohood (Barrier 11, Form: 2×323)
    Trainer: Tony McEvoy, Jockey: Zac Purton
    Shouldn’t be underestimated.
  13. Fiesta (Barrier 20, Form: 32×12)
    Trainer: Chris Waller, Jockey: Kerrin McEvoy
    Has good wet track form.
  14. Sizzling Belle (Barrier 1, Form: 1112)
    Trainer: Nick Olive, Jockey: Kathy O’Hara
    Looks outclassed.
  15. Seabrook (Barrier: 12, Form: 4×31)
    Trainer: Mick Price, Jockey: Damien Oliver
    Go well.
  16. Secret Lady (Barrier 13, Form: 212574)
    Trainer: Gary Portelli, Jockey: Ben Melham
    Not up to these.
  17. (e) Qafila (Barrier 10, Form: 14×74
    Trainer: David & Ben Hayes & Tom Dabernig, Jockey: Craig Williams
    Place chance.
  18. (e). Gongs (Barrier 14, Form: 11×34)
    Trainer: James Cummings, Jockey: Tye Angland
    If he gets a run, can place.
  19. (e). Legend Of Condor (Barrier 9, Form: 1×434)
    Trainer: Gerald Ryan, Jockey: To be confirmed
    Unlikely.
  20. (e). Spin (Barrier 18, Form: 42×23)
    Trainer: Peter & Paul Snowden, Jockey: To be confirmed
    Not for me.

Trent Masenhelder’s Golden Slipper selections:

  1. Sandbar
  2. Written By
  3. Performer
  4. Fiesta

Other race tips:

Ranvet Stakes (Race 4): Gailo Chop

George Ryder Stakes (Race 5): Winx

Rosehill Guineas (Race 6): Vin De Dance

The Galaxy (Race 8): English

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