Oakleigh Girl has bypassed all the traditional Golden Slipper lead-ups but her jockey Craig Newitt is confident the filly has had the necessary grounding to be a force.
The Danny Bougoure-trained filly has not started since her second to Unencumbered in January’s Magic Millions Classic but has been tuned up for her shot at Saturday’s $3.5 million race with two recent barrier trials in Sydney.
Newitt has no doubts Oakleigh Girl has improved since she last raced and is confident the filly has the class the be a Slipper contender.
“I think it will come down to barriers,” Newitt said.
“If she can draw well she’ll put herself on the speed and I’m sure she’s fit enough.”
Oakleigh Girl won an 800m trial at Warwick Farm by 2-1/2 lengths on March 11 and then beat Time For War by five lengths over 1030m at Rosehill last Friday week.
“I’m rapt with her,” Newitt said.
“She has had two trials and both have been really good. And the horse that won the colts race (Pago Pago Stakes) on Saturday finished behind her the other day.”
A $15 chance in the Golden Slipper, Oakleigh Girl was a dominant winner on debut during Melbourne Cup week at Flemington before a three-start Queensland summer campaign which culminated in her second in the $2 million Magic Millions Classic.
“She has definitely improved since then,” Newitt said.
“Physically she has improved too. She’s a big girl now and she’ll acquit herself well.”
The Peter Snowden-trained Earthquake – unbeaten in four starts – is the dominant $2 Slipper favourite ahead of Mossfun at $6.
Already a Group One winner of the Blue Diamond Stakes, Earthquake beat Mossfun in their only clash so far in the Reisling Stakes.
But Mossfun has two wins on wet ground, something Earthquake has yet to encounter and rain is forecast late in the week.
Ghibellines and Unencumbered are at $11 with Oakleigh Girl one of three horses on the next line of betting.