David Hayes is looking to keep the Golden Slipper Stakes dream alive with debutante Fortune Of War at Flemington.
Damien Oliver will ride the daughter of General Nediym in Saturday’s Streets Ice Cream Stakes (1000m) after Hayes ran out of time to get her ready for last week’s Blue Diamond Stakes.
At her only public appearance, Fortune Of War was the talk of the Werribee trials back in November when she was a convincing 1-1/2 length winner and she has been heavily backed from $4 to $3.50 favouritism with TAB Sportsbet to win her debut.
Hayes said that while Fortune Of War has impressed the stable, the Werribee trial win wasn’t entirely expected.
“She had trialled badly at Flemington and didn’t know anything so we sent her to the Werribee trials to have a look at the new track there,” Hayes said.
“We exposed her a bit but she is still good odds at the moment (for the Slipper).”
On Thursday TAB Sportsbet quoted her at $71 for Australia’s premier two-year-old event at Rosehill on April 2 but she will trim up significantly if she can run well at her debut.
“After the Werribee trial she jarred up through the shoulder so we backed off her,” Hayes, explaining the delayed start to Fortune Of War’s racing career, said.
“We thought we would miss the (Blue) Diamond as we didn’t have time to get her ready but she still holds a Slipper nomination.”
Fortune Of War was a $180,000 yearling and is the second foal from six-time city winner Pretty Penny. Her third dam Tontina is a sister to 1973 Golden Slipper winner Tontonan.
Hayes said Fortune Of War had been given a relatively easy time leading up to Saturday so as to peak for the Slipper if she was good enough.
“We like her a lot,” Hayes said.
“It is never easy to win these races at this time of the year and she has been trained very kindly for this race (on Saturday),” Hayes said.
“She looks good but this is not her grand final.
“We have bigger things in mind for her.”
The Lee Freedman-trained first starter Retsina was the best-backed runner on Thursday to beat Fortune Of War, firming from $5.50 to $4.20, and the Redoute’s Choice filly shares the second line of betting with Golden Archer who has won three of his four starts.