Fans of Australian racing can wager with confidence on Friday night’s rescheduled Golden Slipper (Group 1) card in Sydney, as drying conditions were expected across the second half of this week. And, if every cloud has a silver lining, the Rosehill program boasts even more star power after fields were redrawn for the four other G1 races on the card. The “Slipper” card is available to stream on the new Sky Racing World App and will be broadcast live on TVG (First Post: 9:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. PT).
Racetracks in three states have cancelled dozens of programs since late last week, with the biggest casualty being the postponement of last weekend’s Golden Slipper, the world’s richest 2-year-old race. The entire program has been transplanted on the calendar to this Friday night, pushing back each subsequent card for the duration of Sydney’s “Autumn Racing Carnival.” (This means that “The Championships” at Randwick, a two-day Breeders’ Cup-style event offering more than $21 million in purses, will now be staged on April 9 and 16). Only the Golden Slipper field remained intact, and the extra week has suited the schedule of several high-profile horses, whose inclusion in the “supporting” stakes races has further bolstered the program’s appeal.
The G1 sequence begins with the Ranvet Stakes (Race 4). Quirky and intractable in her younger days, Verry Elleegant has furnished into a top-class professional athlete under the tutelage of Sydney’s leading trainer, Chris Waller. The 5-year-old mare has won five G1 races in the past year, exhibiting tigerish tenacity to clinch four of them in heart-stopping photo finishes. Her ½-length loss to English stayer Addeybb in the 2020 Ranvet was the “Race of the Carnival,” and the pair will lock horns again Friday night in the weight-for-age contest at 1 1/4 miles. Each horse follows an identical preparation to last year, with Addeybb (even-money favorite) unraced since winning the G1 Champion Stakes at Ascot in October and Verry Elleegant (9-5) making her third start of the year.
Despite Rosehill’s excellent drainage, the surface will still be in the “soft-to-heavy” range after being inundated with some 15 inches of rain. There are few racehorses in the world with a more pronounced preference for wet tracks than Colette (5-1), a Godolphin mare whose record on firm footing is 8:1-2-0 but who seemingly grows an extra leg — or flipper — on wet surfaces (6:5-1-0). The redrawn Ranvet field now also includes Sir Dragonet (13-1), who is struggling for form this campaign but gets race and surface conditions that resemble his triumph in last October’s Cox Plate.
Race 5 is the Rosehill Guineas (G1) at 1 1/4 miles for 3-year-olds, a natural progression from the one-mile Randwick Guineas three weeks ago. Mo’unga is 5-2 favorite to turn the tables on Lion’s Roar, after finishing a desperately unlucky second behind the 25-1 upset winner of the Randwick Guineas. Lion’s Roar is 7-1 to repeat, and each colt has won his only start on a “heavy” track. Splitting them in the wagering are Montefilia and Grandslam (each at 6-1). Montefilia is a dual G1-winning filly who defeated colts – including Lion’s Roar – at this distance last year. Grandslam is an addition to the original field who is coming off a six-length G2 win. He is a full-brother to elite staying mare Jameka, winner of the 2016 Caulfield Cup.
Race 6 is the George Ryder Stakes (G1), a weight-for-age race at 7 1/2 furlongs. Wagering is headed by 7-year-old Godolphin warhorse Avilius (3-1), an earner of $3.5 million who is two-for-two on “heavy” tracks. Avilius (whose damsire is Sunday Silence) hasn’t won since 2019, but showed his old spark with a close third-place finish off a layoff.
Friday’s final G1 race is the most open: The Galaxy (Race 8) is a handicap at 5 1/2 furlongs, boasting co-favorites at 4-1. The Waller-trained Haut Brion Her is primed to enhance her excellent record fresh, while Tailleur is a rapidly rising talent for Godolphin who has won six of eight starts.
The Rosehill card will be broadcast live on TVG this Friday night (First Post: 9:30 p.m. ET / 6:30 p.m. PT) alongside cards from Doomben, Wyong and Gold Coast. All races will be livestreamed in HD on the new Sky Racing World App, skyracingworld.com and major ADW platforms such as TVG, TwinSpires, Xpressbet, NYRABets, WatchandWager, HPIbet, and AmWager. Wagering is also available via these ADW platforms. Fans can get free access to livestreaming, past performances and expert picks on all races at skyracingworld.com.
A native of Brisbane, Australia, Michael Wrona has called races in six countries. Wrona’s vast U.S. experience includes race calling at Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park, Arlington and Santa Anita, calling the 2000 Preakness on a national radio network, and the 2016 Breeders’ Cup on the International simulcast network. Wrona also performed a race call voiceover for a Seinfeld episode called The Subway.
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