Farnan puts Gai in frame for seventh Golden Slipper
GAI Waterhouse is closing in on a record seventh Golden Slipper with Farnan confirming he is a legitimate contender in a stunning win at Rosehill Gardens.
Farnan left a top field of two-year-olds, including Cellsabeel, struggling well behind as he streaked way with the Group 2 $250,000 Silver Slipper (1100m).
There were no excuses for those trailing in Farnan's wake, particularly Cellsabeel, who was beaten nearly seven lengths into fifth placing.
The Silver Slipper result caused a dramatic change to betting for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper next month, with long-time favourite Cellsabeel drifting out to $12 with Ladbrokes, while Farnan was the big market mover, firming from long double figures to $7.
"We were confident the horse was the best he could be going into the race,'' said Adrian Bott, who co-trains with Waterhouse.
Farnan for team @GaiWaterhouse1 -Bott & @HugeBowman has booked his 'Golden Ticket' as he wins the Silver Slipper stakes @rosehillgardens and gives the Golden Slipper market a shake! pic.twitter.com/4psebZu5Gf— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) February 22, 2020
"His two bits of work since the trial have been that of a really smart colt.''
Farnan ($7.50) exploded to the lead on the turn under Hugh Bowman and careered away to win by 3¼ lengths from Global Quest ($8) with first starter North Pacific ($8) just over a length away third.
Cellsabeel, sent out the $1.90 favourite, was slow to begin, settled back near last in the small field but struggled to make any ground from the turn and finished a well-beaten fifth.
Adrian Bott was thrilled after Farnan won the Silver Slipper @rosehillgardens today, and he spoke to @gregprichard on the plans going forward to the Golden Slipper... @GaiWaterhouse1 pic.twitter.com/9yO9XtZnlO— Sky Racing (@SkyRacingAU) February 22, 2020
Waterhouse wasn't on track on Saturday but she will be growing in confidence that Farnan can give her another Golden Slipper after her previous wins with Ha Ha (2001), Dance Hero (2004), Sebring (2008), Pierro (2012), Overreach (2013) and Vancouver (2015).
Farnan scored his third win from just four starts - his only defeat coming with his unplaced effort in Away Game's Magic Millions Classic last month.
"We had the foot issue in the lead-up (to the Magic Millions) but to be fair it wasn't a problem on raceday,'' Bott said. "But we didn't see him in that race as he didn't get into the position in the run we wanted and then he got onto the worst part of the track
"It dented our confidence a little but we had excuses so today was important to see how he measured up to Sydney's better two-year-olds and he certainly made a statement.
"We have the option of the Todman Stakes in two weeks but I guess that is 50-50 now because he is in the Golden Slipper now and he does race well fresh.''
Bowman said Farnan could not have been more impressive in his Silver Slipper romp.
"He's a good young colt - it felt as good as it looked," Bowman said.
Chris Waller, trainer of Global Quest, said without a dominant juvenile this season the temptation is there to press on with his colt's Golden Slipper campaign.
"It's his home track, he has such a good temperament he will cope with a Golden Slipper preparation,'' Waller said. "I would think he will run again in two weeks in the Todman Stakes and he might have the blinkers on.''
Cellsabeel's flop left stable representative Annabel Neasham and jockey Tommy Berry searching for answers. Neasham said it was obvious Cellsabeel wasn't her usual self in the Silver Slipper.
"It wasn't her at all today,'' Neasham said. "Tommy said she was off the bit a long way out and something might be amiss with her.
"We will see how she pulls up and see if anything comes to light in the next couple of days. There is also the option of going to the Reisling Stakes in two weeks.''
SAVVY SHOWDOWN WITH ALIZEE
Godolphin trainer James Cummings is considering a Group 1 clash between glamour mares Savatiano and Alizee in the Canterbury Stakes next month.
Hall of Famer Darren Beadman revealed the chances of the showdown soared after Savatiano made a brilliant return to racing in the Group 2 $200,000 Millie Fox Stakes (1300m) at Rosehill Gardens.
"I just got a text from James and he feels a race like the Canterbury Stakes (Randwick, March 7) would suit Savatiano,'' Beadman said.
"She was a Group 2 winner last time and also won The Hunter but she has gone to a new level today.''
Savatiano ($2 favourite) even surprised jockey James McDonald when she sped away to win by nearly three lengths from White Moss ($4.80) with Invincible Gem ($6.50) two lengths away third.
"She has come back in tremendous order,'' McDonald said.
"I gave her a click at the 500m but it was the wrong thing to do because raced up there.
"I thought she would blow out at some stage, I thought she was in need of the run but I haven't ridden one that was going as well as her during the race for a long time.''
McDonald said Savatiano has the ability to measure up at weight-for-age in the Canterbury Stakes in two weeks.
"She is well up to that,'' he said. "I reckon she will give Alizee a run for her money.''
Beadman said Savatiano is an "aggressive mare and wants to win.''
"It was pleasing to see Savatiano return in such good fashion,'' he said.
"The important thing with her was to get the first half of the race right, switch her off. We thought they would be the two horses (White Moss, Irithea) up front toughing it out.
"Savatiano dropped them very quickly when she moved out from behind White Moss in the straight. She looked quite vulnerable in the yard today where she sweated up a little so to do that off one soft trial is very pleasing going into the autumn carnival.''