A small Silver Slipper field is unlikely to detract from the race’s significance as a Golden Slipper pointer with two of Sydney’s leading juveniles set to clash at Rosehill.
Seven two-year-olds were left standing when acceptances were taken on Wednesday and at least one of those, King Of War, is not certain to start.
But two of the top 10 horses in betting for next month’s Golden Slipper will take their place.
Godolphin colt Astern, a dominant winner of his only start in December, will try to underline his Golden Slipper credentials against the highly touted Defcon from the Peter and Paul Snowden stable.
The Snowdens already have the Golden Slipper favourite in Capitalist and Defcon gets a chance to join him after an aborted Blue Diamond campaign.
The youngster was second favourite for Melbourne’s major two-year-old race but the Snowdens pulled the pin on a start when Defcon was diagnosed with a minor blood issue.
Paul Snowden said the colt had recovered quickly and was in no doubt for Saturday.
“All’s good. He trialled the other day and he wouldn’t have trialled if it wasn’t,” Snowden said.
“Sometimes it can swing around early or it can take a bit of time, we were lucky it got back on track pretty quick.”
Defcon finished second in the Canonbury Stakes last month when he loomed to win, only for his condition to give out on the heavy track.
Blake Shinn takes the ride from barrier seven, two outside Astern who will be ridden by Hugh Bowman.
Bowman will warm the saddle on Astern after James McDonald opted to ride in Melbourne.
Defcon’s stablemate King Of War was also in action at Monday’s barrier trials, winning a 900m Rosehill heat.
A final decision on whether he runs in the Silver Slipper will be made later this week.
“He had a good hit-out at the trials and he’s no slouch, he’s a horse with talent,” Snowden said.
“We’ll just see what our options are over the next couple of days. There are races on every week.”
The Snowdens are also weighing up a Millie Fox Stakes start for I’ve Got The Looks.
There are 13 entries for the Hobartville Stakes, by Chris Waller’s Group One-winning colts Press Statement and Vanbrugh.