Real Saga the favourite after Slipper barrier draw
Real Saga has been promoted to outright favouritism for Saturday’s $3.5 million Golden Slipper with bookmakers dismissing barrier 13 as a concern.
The colt from the stable of Michael, Wayne and John Hawkes has been jostling with the Gai Waterhouse-trained filly More Joyous at the top of markets for several weeks.
TAB Sportsbet left Real Saga at $3.50 after the barrier draw and eased More Joyous to $3.80 after she drew 12.
Waterhouse agreed Real Saga would be extremely hard to beat but said drawing wide might not be a disadvantage given the prospect of a wet track.
"It makes no difference," Waterhouse said.
"For the last two weeks they’ve been racing five and six off the fence anyway and that might be the best place to be."
Waterhouse also has Manhattan Rain (barrier 5, $11) and Horizons (barrier 17, $61) in the race and all three worked on the course proper at Randwick on Tuesday morning.
"I’m very happy with all three," Waterhouse said.
"More Joyous worked superbly on the course proper, she skipped over the ground.
"They will all handle it well, it won’t be a problem."
The three-time Golden Slipper-winning trainer nominated Real Saga, Reward For Effort and Manhattan Rain as the hardest to beat.
The only time Real Saga has been beaten was in the Blue Diamond Stakes when he ran second to Reward For Effort.
"You’ve got to respect Real Saga," Waterhouse said.
"He won the Breeders Plate in the spring and that race always produces a good horse.
"He’s done everything right.
"And the horse of Peter Moody’s – Reward For Effort – I saw him this morning and he worked very well.
"It’s going to be a tough Slipper to win."
The previously unbeaten Rostova choked down when she ran fifth in the Blue Diamond as favourite and was fitted with a tongue tie in the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes which she duly won.
Trainer Steve Richards brought Rostova to Sydney last week and she pleased him with her second to Reward For Effort in a barrier trial on Friday at her first outing in the clockwise direction.
Punters have also warmed to the filly who is the only runner apart from Real Saga and More Joyous under double figures in markets.
She firmed from $8 to $7 after drawing barrier nine which pleased Richards.
"I’m very happy with the barrier," he said.
"If the emergency drawn inside her doesn’t run she comes into eight and I was hoping to be in the first eight.
"The wet ground is an unknown. They don’t sell umbrellas in Melbourne because there’s no use for them. It hasn’t rained for eleven years.
"But she is by Testa Rossa and he was pretty good in it."
Multiple Group One winner Testa Rossa had three wins from six starts on slow or heavy going.
The Gary Portelli-trained Delago Bolt, winner of the Black Opal Stakes, remained at $21 after drawing barrier one while Magic Millions winner Phelan Ready eased from $26 to $31 after coming up with the outside alley.
By Caryl Williamson