The Queen reigned supreme, albeit in less dominant fashion than we’re accustomed, a new challenger for Australia’s sprint crown put down her credentials and the babies came up short of previous years in the Slipper.
Here’s our ratings review of a weekend that comprised no less than six Group 1 races.
- Winx 107.8
- Happy Clapper 106.3
- Kementari 104.7
This was a super slow run race with a predictably blistering final 600m.
We do expect so much of Winx, but her final sectional in this race was truly amazing.
However, the skinnier margin highlights that if she is ever to be vulnerable, it will be in a slowly run race where the mathematics make it impossible for her to run down a classy leader or other close up runner.
Hugh Bowman was fully aware of this scenario on Saturday and sat outside Kementari in the run, rather than taking cover behind him. Bowman didn’t want to risk the three-year-old not taking him into the race quick enough to run down Happy Clapper and he was able to get going a little earlier.
After a couple of close calls early last Spring where Winx gave away 5.5L, 7L and 8.5L at the 600m mark, we’ve seen her no further back than 3.1L from the leader in four subsequent runs, recording faster first section ratings in all of them except Saturday, where the lead pace was incredibly slow. Bowman appears very mindful of ensuring it’s not an error in judgement of giving away too much start that threatens to bring Winx’s incredible winning streak undone.
Happy Clapper has gone to a slight new peak again on Saturday, as has Kementari.
That’s perhaps some subjective reason to lower the rating for that race and Winx, but the speed figures warranted that marks we have landed on for the placegetters.
- Estijaab 103.3
- Oohood 102.9
- Sunlight 99.9
- Written By 99.2
Estijaab did a terrific job to overcome the wide gate, show blistering early speed, come back to slow the tempo in the middle stages and find enough in the run to the line to stave off Oohood.
We can’t make a strong case to mark the race any higher than we have, unless you assume that Written By and Sunlight ran much closer to their established peaks, which isn’t supported by the speed figures to any extent at all.
To do that would also push many others well beyond new peaks already established at the current rating.
Sunlight and Written By have had terrific campaigns but unfortunately for their supporters they couldn’t peak on the day.
Sunlight improved on her 98 rating last week to run 99.9 in the Slipper (almost +1L improvement), but still ran 1.4L below her previous 103 peak. That was a well documented concern after rating so far below that level at her last start.
She did record a slower first section rating compared to her past four starts and a more aggressive ride may have seen her run better. On the other hand she did less work early and still made virtually no ground on Estijaab over the final 200m, so it’s difficult to make excuses.
Written By regressed from his 102.8 rating achieved last week to a 99.2 in this race. He also did less work early and actually lost ground on Estijaab over the final 200m of the race.
Perhaps it was the effects of a 7 day turnaround for the two favourites that saw them run below their peak, it may have been influenced by the wet track conditions or a combination of both.
Oohood was the real eye catching run in the race, closing with a particularly fast last 400m and perhaps just peaked in the last couple of strides trying to run down Estijaab. Tony McEvoy has maintained all along that he rates her very highly and we can now see exactly why.
While Estijaab’s win was a terrific example of training a horse to peak on the day and the benefit of positive tactics, it will not go down as a vintage Slipper.
As a guide, below is a list of the previous seven Slipper winners and the WPR figures they returned, making this year the lowest of that group.
- 2017: She Will Reign 104
- 2016: Capitalist 104.7
- 2015: Vancouver: 104.7
- 2014: Mossfun: 104
- 2013: Overreach: 106
- 2012: Pierro: 105.5
- 2011: Sepoy: 106.5
- In Her Time 106.5
- English 104.1
- Viridine 99.5
In Her Time was stunning running to a 106.5 here.
In the spring she twice ran to 104.5, but she’s been able to build on that first up here.
Her 106.5 is superior to Redzel’s 105.2 peak rating, all be it he has been remarkably consistent at that level. It may not fit with the logic of some that In Her Time could record a super figure, but there’s no way to mark the Galaxy any lower than where we have. The speed measures were outstanding and the resulting ratings for English and Viridine fit well with their form history.
In Her Time will target the G1 1200m WFA T J Smith at her next start and is a serious challenger to Redzel and others. She currently sits between $5.00 and $6.00 in the market with Redzel at $2.50. We believe that’s too much gap between them.
- Gailo Chop 104.5
- Single Gaze 100
Gailo Chop continued the Darren Weir show and as we pointed out last week, the team is in orbit at the moment.
This is short of Gailo Chop’s 105.5 Peter Young peak, but up on his Australian Cup run, where he was part of a speed battle.
It remains to be seen whether he backs up in this week’s Tancred Stakes and tries to stretch the stamina to 2400m, or waits another fortnight to run for second prize in the Queen Elizabeth.
- D’Argento 100.5
- Tangled 98.6
- Furore 97.1
This was not the strongest renewal of the Rosehill Guineas, but the marketplace got it spot on after D’Argento was crunched in betting.
The 100.5 rating for the winner is not genuine Group 1 class and Chris Waller now faces an interesting decision on whether he presses on to the Derby or tries to freshen the grey for a Doncaster tilt.
He may not be sharp enough coming back to 1600m, but then his figures at the end of 2000m didn’t exactly say he’s crying out for 2400m either.
It was a roughhouse affair by the winner and clearly Furore should have finished much closer. He’s taking big steps forward and measured right up here.
Tangled emerged as a Derby contender matching his career peak from the G1 Spring Champion Stakes last Spring, when he was runner up to subsequent Victoria Derby winner Ace High. Tangled went to to start $8 in the Victoria Derby and although well beaten, there were some excuses.
The run of Vin De Dance was also solid, coming back from the 2400m of his win in the NZ Derby. He will be a tougher nut to crack going back up to 2400m next time out.
WILLIAM REID STAKES
- Hellbent 102.8
- Thronum 101.7
Hellbent put the writing on the wall in the Oakleigh Plate and backed it up when he rounded up his rivals at Moonee Valley on Friday night, aided by a somewhat unexpected fast pace. This was an identical rating to the one he ran in the same race last year, which produced the narrowest of seconds behind Silent Sedition.
Thronum bounced back from his failure in the Newmarket to go to a new peak (up from 100.4)