Racing NSW has released the latest order of entry (as at 12 March 2018) for the 2018 $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) to be run at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday, 24 March. Occupying the top spot is the Team Hawkes-trained Estijaab with $273,075 in official prize money. She is also one of five juveniles with ballot exempt status for the race. The others are Sunlight, Santos, Aylmerton & Seabrook. Click here to view the latest order of entry.
At Royal Randwick in Sydney, Arrowfield Stud's incumbent Champion Australian Sire Snitzel (Redoute's Choice-Snippets' Lass, by Snippets) added a Group race success when 2YO Australian-bred filly Estijaab (Snitzel-Response, by Charge Forward) rounded out her Golden Slipper preparation with a narrow but decisive win in the $300,000 Gr2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) for 2YO fillies, defeating Pure Elation & Sister Sledge. Co-trainer Michael Hawkes seemed pleased with Estijaab's performance despite the filly drifting slightly out to $6 with TAB for Saturday week's $3.5 million Gr1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens. "She ran really good time. It was a very good win. She was there to be beaten but the thing with this girl is you just hit the go button and she really wants to attack the line," Hawkes told Sky Racing. "It's not about how far...it's all about winning. How much more do you have to improve? She ran 1.09". Hawkes added: "Her brilliant attribute is she just relaxes and comes back underneath you. Once again she's done that. Onwards and upwards." From the dual Gr1-winning mare Response (Charge Forward), Estijaab races in the green and white colours of Emirates Park who purchased her from the Arrowfield draft for $1.7 million at the 2017 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale. She improved her record to 2 wins and 1 placing (the Gr2 ATC Silver Slipper Stakes) from 3 starts for $295,575 in earnings.
With five weeks between her dazzling debut performance and her subsequent start, where she did all but hold off Magic Millions 2YO Classic winner Sunlight in the Gr2 Silver Slipper, Estijaab will have derived plenty of benefit from the run. With the Gr1 Golden Slipper looming, though, the rocket-like daughter of Snitzel looked as though one more run would top her off perfectly before a two week break to the seasonal 2YO Championship decider. Currently equal favourite with Sunlight for the Rosehill Gardens feature, Estijaab will carry the hopes of many in tomorrow's Gr2 Reisling Stakes where she's a deserved $1.35 favourite. With the exception of talented Spirit Of Boom filly Outback Barbie, who placed behind Sunlight on the Gold Coast, it looks like Estijaab first, daylight second… and then onto the big one in a fortnight. If she does as is widely expected, she'll join past winners of the Reisling Stakes that include Frolic, English, Earthquake, Samaready, More Joyous, Fashions Afield, Alinghi, Polar Success and Belle du Jour. Not bad company.
At Rosehill Gardens in Sydney, racegoers might well have seen the forthcoming Gr1 Golden Slipper quinella following an exceptional running of the $235,000 Gr2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) for 2YOs. With a couple of scratchings reducing the field to just 5 runners, former 3YO champion Australian sprinter and now Woodside Park & Widden Stud stallion Zoustar (Northern Meteor-Zouzou, by Redoute's Choice) added a group success when brilliant Australian-bred juvenile filly Sunlight (Zoustar-Solar Charged, by Charge Forward) scored a 0.3-length victory for trainer Tony McEvoy over favoured filly Estijaab, with the previously undefeated filly Gongs almost 7-lengths behind in third. Forced to do more work than connections would have wanted, when taken on by Neutrality a long way from home, Estijaab lost nothing in defeat to remain a strong chance in the Golden Slipper. Racing NSW reports that the runner-up posted sub-11 second sectionals from the 1000m to the 400m making her effort even more gallant. The winner's assistant trainer Calvin McCoy beamed after Sunlight's narrow victory, "When the other two decided to go out in front, Tim (Clark) asked her to come back and she did. She raced like a true professional. It was all class. She was forward enough and we knew she'd run well but there is still improvement to come which is why I have a big smile on my face." Sunlight, a $300,000 yearling at the 2017 Magic Millions Gold Coast Sale from the draft of Widden Stud, advanced her record to 4 wins (including the Magic Millions 2YO Classic on the Gold Coast) and 1 placing (the Listed Maribyrnong Trial Stakes) from 5 starts for $1,441,450 earnings.
Brilliant Victorian filly Sunlight kicks off her Golden Slipper campaign when she makes her Sydney debut in Saturday's Gr2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill. The Tony McEvoy-trained Sunlight is the $6 TAB favourite for the Gr1 Golden Slipper after stringing together three outstanding wins on the Gold Coast, including a dominant win in the Magic Millions 2YO Classic in January. McEvoy told Sky Sport Radio that the daughter of Zoustar was ready to continue on her winning ways. "She’s great. She’s settled into her routine up here really nicely," McEvoy said. "She’s very professional and she’s got such a winning, can-do attitude." Sunlight faces six quality rivals on Saturday including boom filly Estijaab and fellow Zoustar youngster Zousain from the Chris Waller yard.
Boom filly Estijaab is out of contention for the $1.5 million Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) after she was missing from the list of third declarations on Tuesday. Trained by Team Hawkes, the beautifully bred filly Estijaab announced herself as a genuine contender for the major juvenile races in the autumn when scoring a brilliant debut win at Randwick twelve days ago. Following her 4 length romp, bookmakers reacted by installing her as joint $11 favourite for Victoria's premier juvenile event at Caulfield on 24 February. It is expected connections will now turn their attention to the Gr1 Golden Slipper in March. By Arrowfield Stud's incumbent champion Australian sire Snitzel out of the dual Gr1-winning mare Response (Charge Forward), Estijaab races in the green and white colours of Emirates Park who purchased her from the Arrowfield draft for $1.7 million at the 2017 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale. Final declarations for the Blue Diamond close at 9am (AEDT) on Tuesday 20 February.
Beautifully bred filly Estijaab announced herself as a genuine contender for the major juvenile races in the autumn when scoring a brilliant debut win at Randwick on Saturday. By Arrowfield Stud's incumbent champion Australian sire Snitzel out of the dual Gr1-winning mare Response (Charge Forward), Estijaab races in the green and white colours of Emirates Park who purchased her from the Arrowfield draft for $1.7 million at the 2017 Inglis Australian Easter Yearling Sale. TAB reacted to Estijaab's slashing win by winding her price in to be $11 equal favourite for the Gr1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on 24 February, as well as making her $15 equal third favourite for the Gr1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on 24 March. Co-trainer Michael Hawkes said: "She's a very nice filly and we're really lucky to have her," he told Sky Racing. "Since she's stepped into our stable she's been very relaxed, has a very good attitude and today she really shone. Her mum was a very good racehorse and of course her dad was too..." Hawkes added: "Hopefully she is Slipper bound and we will have to plot a path but we will just take it one step at a time and get through today."