Saturday, April 6, 2013

Rain and fast lanes make Slipper a lottery

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Rails Run: Golden Slipper preview

Our racing experts look ahead to all the action at Rosehill on Saturday.

HOTPOT Overreach is odds-on to handle the Rosehill wet in Saturday's Golden Slipper, but finding the fast lane in the straight remains a quandary for the four-legged lottery upon which the Australian Turf Club is offering $1 million for racegoers who can pick the first seven in correct finishing order.

Perhaps a spread across the track, described as heavy on Friday, could enable jockey Tom Berry to find a section where the brilliant filly won't lose her dazzle.

"If the track deteriorates, the inside may be a slight disadvantage. Since the dominant favourite has drawn barrier one, that could cause mayhem to my computer prices," said Dom Beirne (Betfair).

Beirne mentions Ruud Awakening and Sweet Idea as likely firmers if the ground is a slow-plus. Conditions, particularly as the program progresses, will be vital and wet credentials will come to the fore. Most of the babies in the Slipper haven't had experience on the type of surface that will likely confront them. Untried on worse than dead, Overreach is out of Bahia, successful on the Rosehill slow, while Sidestep's dam, Dextrous, also notched a win on slow.

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Everything being equal, the class of Overreach, trading at $2.90 with Betfair overnight, would prove conclusive, but track bias after rain and traffic damage can be an equaliser. For instance Vince Accardi, of Daily Sectionals.com, has timing data that indicates getting on a fast lane - or ''sweet spot'' as he describes it - can produce a three-length advantage. Following six earlier races, finding the better footing, in battle conditions, could be easier said than done.

Launching from five on Sidestep gives Kerrin McEvoy options: he doesn't have to indulge in a speed battle up front and has the choice of steering away from the rail. Certainly the colt lacks the zip of Overreach but he hit the line in the Pago Pago at Rosehill last Saturday like a two-year-old on an upward spiral.

With blinkers, Sidestep should be even better and peaking for the pot of gold at the end of the Rosehill 1200 metres is the key.

Another colt which promises to be better is Fast 'N' Rocking, big and strong, who was downed narrowly by Criterion over the Rosehill 1200m in the Todman two weeks back. The astute Craig Williams, who won on Criterion last time, had an early booking for New Zealander Ruud Awakening, and Hugh Bowman takes over.

Guelph, a Blue Diamond failure and stablemate of Sidestep being a member of the Peter Snowden team, is another capable of improving sharply, especially in the wet, although McEvoy preferred Sidestep. Guelph slipped at the start in the Blue Diamond.

Should more than one pick the first seven in the Slipper, the prize will be shared. Considering the ATC financial situation, wise guys figure it should be chops in the pan, or let the money be guaranteed by a neutral authority, says Peter V'landys, the frugal Racing NSW boss.

Verdict: Sidestep ($10).

RUNS ON BOARD

Fiveandahalfstar is odds-on with Beirne for The BMW but concedes his high rating has been produced on firm tracks. In recent times, he rates only Octagonal as a superior three-year-old taking on the 2400 metre weight-for-age staying test. With the exception of Foreteller, triumphant in the Ranvet at Rosehill last start but suspect over the longer journey, The BMW is skinny on weight-for-age talent. Again mudlarks could be enhanced, which is why the last-start failure of Silent Achiever behind Foreteller in the Ranvet (2000m) should be overlooked. Silent Achiever has scored at her only two attempts on slow and won over the distance.

Verdict: Silent Achiever ($10).

CLASS PREVAILS

Gai Waterhouse is on the boil with two odds-on favourites, More Joyous and Pierro. Even the one gate and the wet doesn't dim the prospects of More Joyous in the Queen Of The Turf. More Joyous has had two misses on heavy but four wins from five on slow. More Joyous was beaten less than a length by Pierro. Maybe, given a more aggressive ride by Nash Rawiller she would have finished closer, but you can't ridicule a jockey for riding the perfect race. Only the great uncertainty of the turf will beat her, while Pierro faces stronger opposition but should handle them in the George Ryder. Possibly the danger is Rebel Dane, another three-year-old, out to show his last-start fourth was a lapse. Shoot Out is a top-line group 1 miler and old Danleigh handles the likely conditions.

Verdict: More Joyous ($1.40)


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