Winning her final Golden Slipper audition in race record time couldn’t save Estijaab from drifting in the market for the world’s richest race for two-year-olds.
The Snitzel filly claimed the Group Two Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Randwick and although she beat English’s 2015 time benchmark, Sunlight firmed as favourite for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill in a fortnight.
Estijaab was runner up to Sunlight by a neck when they clashed in the Group Two Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) last month and was a $5 Golden Slipper chance before leading all the way in the Reisling Stakes.
However, after holding off outsiders Pure Elation ($18) and debutant Sister Sledge ($81), the TAB quoted her as a $6 chance while Sunlight shortened from $4.60 to $4.
Co-trainer Michael Hawkes was unfazed by the Slipper market after Estijaab clocked 1:09.10 to erase English’s time of 1:10.19.
“It’s all about winning. How much more do you have to improve? She ran 1.09,” he said.
“Today was about looking after her and helping her and just getting the job done.”
Estijaab, the $1.40 favourite, used her trademark gate speed to set the tempo under Brenton Avdulla and she was never seriously under threat before hitting the line a long neck clear of the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Pure Elation.
Sister Sledge made a promising start to her career when crossing a long head further back for Anthony and Edward Cummings.
Hawkes admitted Estijaab had been under pressure but reacted accordingly.
“She was there to be beaten but the thing with this girl is you just hit the go button and she really wants to attack the line,” he said.
“People look at how far she won on her first effort, but looking at today, it’s not about how far, you look at the time and the time says she done it,” Hawkes said.
“Her brilliant attribute is she just relaxes and comes back underneath you. Once again she’s done that. Onwards and upwards.”
Avdulla was always confident Estijaab would record the second win of her three-start career.
“I never felt she was going to get run down. Her start is the key,” he said.
“As soon as she feels a bit of movement in the gate she’s off. Gate speed’s going to take her a long way.”
Claim $150 in Bonus Bets when you deposit $50!*