Injury has cast doubt over Tassort’s Golden Slipper campaign but such is the depth in Godolphin’s two-year-old stocks they are poised to strengthen their grip on the $3.5 million race in spite of the star colt’s absence at Randwick.
Tassort is an easing Slipper favourite after being ruled out of Saturday’s Todman Stakes with a minor injury.
Trainer James Cummings is hoping he can get the horse ready for the Pago Pago Stakes a week later but admits the setback leaves Tassort as only a “fifty-fifty” chance to get into the 2019 Golden Slipper.
Godolphin also has the next two horses in Slipper betting – last weekend’s Skyline Stakes winner Microphone and Magic Millions Classic winner Exhilarates, who along with stablemate Tenley will contest the Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Exhilarates tuned up for her return with a barrier trial last week and Cummings expects Saturday’s assignment to top her off for the Slipper.
“We just eased right off her after the Magic Millions and that high pressure race in January was able to uncover, I think, the best in her,” Cummings said.
“She has gone ahead again since her trial at Canterbury, which is really pleasing for us and she looks like she’s got the zest for it this weekend.
“She should be right to race very, very well and I think with a little bit more improvement again a fortnight later.”
Tenley hasn’t had the same billing as some of her stablemates but is unbeaten in two starts and has the potential to emerge as a Golden Slipper wild card.
Cummings has liked what he’s seen from her and is keen to give her a chance against some of the better fillies.
“If she’s able to mix it with those good fillies on Saturday then she’s going to be another horse in the mix for the Slipper as well, because she looks like she might have a little bit of that X-factor that’s required,” Cummings said.
Exhilarates and Tenley are first and second picks in early Reisling Stakes markets, ahead of the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Anaheed who backs up seven days after winning the Sweet Embrace Stakes.
While Tassort is missing from the Todman, Godolphin will still be represented by Bivouac.
The youngster scored an upset win on a heavy track at Warwick Farm first-up and if he can repeat the performance will press on to the Slipper.
A field of 11 has been declared for the Todman, although several horses are also nominated for the Black Opal Stakes in Canberra a day later.
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