James Cummings is eyeing off his first Golden Slipper and Gai Waterhouse her seventh while the Godolphin stocks have faltered slightly at Randwick.
The Cummings-trained Good Standing won his way in to the $3.5 million Slipper on March 19 with victory in the Skyline Stakes while the Waterhouse-trained Scarlet Rain maintained her unbeaten record by winning the Sweet Embrace Stakes.
Godolphin’s Telperion was the $2.60 favourite in the Skyline while stablemate Souchez drifted from $4.20 to $6 with Good Standing the one punters thought would challenge, firming from $3.80 to $3.30.
In the end there was no contest from the John O’Shea-trained runners with Good Standing racing midfield before assuming control to beat Lionhearted ($21) by three-quarters of a length.
Souchez finished another 2-1/4 lengths third after racing wide under visiting Englishman William Buick while James McDonald tried to make a run on Telperion from last on the turn.
But all honours were with Good Standing who, all being well, will head to the Slipper.
“He’s got plenty of natural ability and with acceleration like that he can overcome a lot of those learning issues,” Cummings said.
“I’ll be making a recommendation to the owners based on how he pulls up.
“If they’re happy to pay up for him we’ll go straight there.”
Good Standing firmed from $26 to $15 in the TAB’s Slipper market with Telperion the exact opposite, easing from $15 to $16.
Scarlet Rain remained at $15 to win the world’s richest race for two-year-olds after leading all the way in the Sweet Embrace to hold off her fellow $4.40 equal favourite In The Vanguard by a length.
Waterhouse elected not to run Scarlet Rain in last week’s Silver Slipper and the decision to hold her back gave Kathy O’Hara the opportunity to ride.
“Tim Clark was booked to ride her but then he got suspended,” Waterhouse said.
O’Hara grasped the chance with both hands.
“I was really impressed with her,” she said.
“She let down really well and was very strong to the line and had plenty left.”
And O’Hara left the filly’s large group of owners in no doubt she would be available for the Slipper ride.
When asked by one what size slipper she wore, O’Hara replied: “Golden.”