Slipper Day preview: Gallica a risk
A vintage Slipper Day card this Saturday, four Gr.1 races supporting the main event and all full of interest - and value!
The first elite level race of the day comes early, the 2000m Vinery Stud Stakes for fillies being the third race of the day. A hot favourite is Gallica whose Melbourne and Adelaide form reads extra well.
A dominant winner of her last two, she does however have to go right on with it after a demanding campaign. Zarita tried to do it last year but just got too tired. Gallica looks a tough nut but there has to be an element of risk with so much travelling.
In saying that she does look the class filly of the field. So who to back if working around her? Several are jumping quite quickly up in distance and the one who looks most ready for it is Palacio di Cristal who just keeps running on well.
A daughter of an Oaks winner (Crystal Palace) she is certainly bred to appreciate the extra ground. Another who finishes on well is Bauble. She was game behind the boys last time and she rarely runs a bad race. With her Melbourne form she just may get overlooked here.
Another Gr.1 for the girls is the next race on the programme, the Queen Of The Turf Stakes over 1500m. Forensics likes this day (winning the Slipper two years ago) and her first up run was a ripper.
The darling of racegoers, Hot Danish is flying and right down in weight - and again hard to go past. And she likes it wet! As does New Zealand visitor Culminate who is out to prove the worth of the Typhoon Tracy form. Meanwhile the ever consistent Gallant Tess is right in the mix again. The up-and-comer of the field looks to be Champagne Harmony whose latest run in Adelaide appeared to one of a mare looking for a little more ground - and she gets it here.
The BMW can often upstage the Slipper for drama and excitement and although only attracting a field of ten, it is a terrific field. Reigning Melbourne Cup champ Viewed is favourite and he does love the wet. His form reads well but he has to get past Theseo who only has to run the trip out to be the one to beat again. Caulfield Cup winner Master O'Reilly has the services of Damien Oliver and he raced like a stayer in the Australian Cup.
Ten Gr.1 winners are due to contest the George Ryder Stakes, a race which proved memorable 12 months ago with Weekend Hussler racing away to an easy victory. And it looks a bottler again with the classy three-year-olds Whobegotyou and Northern Meteor (unlucky last start) taking on the proven weight-for-age campaigners Pompeii Ruler and Light Fantastic.
Then there is the exciting New Zealander King Mufhasa (proven on the wet) and All Silent who was back in brilliant winning form last time in. A hard race to get one's head around as most of the older horses have wet track form (Whobegotyou and Northern Meteor yet to strike it). Even Largo Lad is a chance if he continues to progress.
Elsewhere on the card there is a roughie in the Tulloch Stakes - Willy Jimmy having little luck last time and he is still in the Derby .