Conners chases Slipper number five
Clarry Conners has been content to let others take the Golden Slipper spotlight over the past few weeks but that’s about to change.
The popular trainer has won the Slipper four times and his leading hope Our Joan Of Arc will ramp up her preparation in Saturday’s Listed Widden Stakes (1100m) at Randwick.
The dual stakes winning filly has done so well she is returning to the track ahead of schedule.
Our Joan Of Arc won the first two-year-old feature of the season, the Gimcrack Stakes, in October and also claimed the Maribyrnong Plate at Flemington a few weeks later.
"She has come to hand quickly," Conners said.
"Originally she was going to resume in the Kindergarten Stakes.
"But that’s three weeks away. There was the option of giving her another trial but I thought why not just go out and win another race with her."
Despite her two wins from three starts, Our Joan Of Arc is a $15 chance for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper on April 4 with the Gai Waterhouse-trained More Joyous holding sway at $5.50 ahead of leading Blue Diamond contenders Rostova and Real Saga at $7.
More Joyous was an impressive debut winner on January 17 and won’t run again until the Silver Slipper on February 28.
Although Conners doesn’t necessarily subscribe to the theory the Slipper winner must be seen before Christmas, he believes it is an advantage.
"I don’t think the Slipper winner has to come out before Christmas but in saying that, all of mine have," he said.
"It helps if they have had that grounding."
Tierce won three races in November and December of 1990 before going on to win the big race in the autumn, Burst ran second in the 1991 Gimcrack, Prowl ran third in Sydney before a close second in the 1997 Maribyrnong Plate and Belle Du Jour won on debut in November 1999.
Conners also has Hush Up in the Widden and says she will perform well.
"She’s a runner, she has a heap of speed," he said.
"I think she can go well but Our Joan Of Arc is the proven horse.
"She’s got the score on the board."
Premiership leader Corey Brown will be aboard Our Joan Of Arc while veteran Jim Cassidy takes the ride on Hush Up.
Patinack Farm’s impressive debut winner Marquardt was installed the $3.50 favourite in TAB Sportsbet’s first Widden markets ahead of Our Joan Of Arc at $4.20 while Hush Up is a $41 chance.
By Caryl Williamson