“This is the goal; anything else along the way is just a bonus. The Golden Slipper is what all the work is about”: Trainer Gai Waterhouse. Photo: Anthony JohnsonGai Waterhouse doesn’t use the calendar year, her year starts and finishes with the first Saturday in April and the Golden Slipper.
The year may end the way she would hope it did last year when Pierro beat Snitzerland in the Slipper. As Pierro hit the line, the cycle had already started again, with the selection of yearlings.
Saturday means Waterhouse’s toil and hard work comes to fruition as she has three Golden Slipper runners, including $2.10 favourite Overreach.
”This is the end of 12 months of work with the babies,” she said. ”This is the goal; anything else along the way is just a bonus. The Golden Slipper is what all the work is about.”
Add appearances by Pierro and More Joyous, and even Waterhouse admits it will be one of the biggest days of her career at Rosehill. ”It is just exciting to have horses like More Joyous and Pierro going around in their races [the Queen Of The Turf and George Ryder Stakes],” she said.
”I have had some big Golden Slipper days – of course, when I had five runners one year [in 2001] and had four run and had the trifecta, that was exciting.
”I don’t think I have had a team like this going to a big day before.”
While Pierro and More Joyous will start odds-on favourites, Driefontein will be at each-way odds in the Vinery Stud Stakes.
”Driefontein is a very underrated filly, and she will run a very good race,” Waterhouse said.
But Slipper day is about the two-year-olds, and Waterhouse will search for her fifth winner from either Overreach, Whittington or Sweet Idea.
”The Slipper is the reason why we sent Overreach to Melbourne in the spring. Sweet Idea went to the Magic Millions [where she was runner-up] but was always going to the Slipper,” Waterhouse said. ”They both worked very well on Saturday. Overreach had a bit of a look-around, being by herself, but she is still the one to beat.
”Whittington, well, he had a setback in December and missed the Magic Millions, and has a couple of runs to boost his confidence. I’ll put a tongue tie on him for the Slipper. Nash [Rawiller] just said he was playing with his tongue the other day, and in the Slipper you can’t afford to be playing with anything.”
New Zealander Ruud Awakening’s connections will pay the $150,000 late-entry fee, while a decision on whether Queenslander Whiskey Allround will pay the late fee will be made after he gallops on Monday. Anthony Cummings and the owners of Scandiva are leaning towards not paying the late entry, even though she is guaranteed a Slipper run after her win in the Magic Night Stakes.
Peter Snowden confirmed Guelph and Kuroshio would run, and is monitoring how Pago Pago winner Sidestep pulls up.
”We will have the two runners for sure, and make up our mind on Sidestep after he works on Tuesday,” Snowden said.
Kerrin McEvoy has indicated he will probably ride Sidestep in if he were to run, which would mean a jockey would be needed for Guelph, as Darley have booked Christian Reith for Kuroshio.
Gerald Ryan is looking for a rider for Dothraki.
Slipper field (In order of entry)Criterion $12Overreach $2.10Sweet Idea $15Sidestep $10I’m All The Talk $17Scandiva $35Romantic Moon $26Fast ’N’ Rocking $17Villa Verde $12Kuroshio $51Guelph $26Whiskey Allround $26Whittington $15Ruud Awakening (NZ) $17Dothraki $51Charlie Boy $17Va Pensiero $101
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