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Pittsburgh goes to the Silver Slipper Stakes as a three-race maiden but with a confidence-boosting barrier trial win to his name.

Trainer Anthony Cummings took the colt to Hawkesbury on Monday for a 760m-heat which he won convincingly from the John Sargent-trained unraced filly Wilde Irish Dream.

Cummings has a high opinion of Pittsburgh who has not raced since his slightly wayward fifth in the $150,000 Golden Gift in November.

“He was far more tactical in his trial today,” Cummings said.

“He is a big, strong colt and ran time without effort. He does have to improve against the horses he will face but he is going the right way.

“Given a normal week he will back up on Saturday with Jason Collett to ride.”

At his first start, Pittsburgh finished fourth, just behind Telperion who won Saturday’s Listed Lonhro Plate.

The Group Two Silver Slipper (1100m) attracted 12 entries on Monday headed by Godolphin colt Astern and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Scarlet Rain, the winner of her two starts so far.

Peter and Paul Snowden have nominated Defcon after pulling the colt out of the Blue Diamond Prelude won by Flying Artie at Caulfield.

Defcon’s blood picture last week was not quite what Peter Snowden wanted to see and he opted not to subject him to a float trip to Melbourne.

Instead, Defcon ran in a 900m-barrier trial at Rosehill on Monday, finishing midfield with Blake Shinn making sure not to overtax him.

Astern is the $2.80 favourite to beat Scarlet Rain ($3.50) in the TAB’s opening Silver Slipper market with Defcon at $4.60 and the Sargent-trained In The Vanguard at $8.

The Snowden-trained Capitalist remains at the top of markets for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper on March 19 at $3.50 ahead of Extreme Choice at $8 and Astern at $11.

The Snowdens have also entered King Of War in the Silver Slipper with the colt winning his trial at Rosehill on Monday.

Two of the past four Silver Slipper winners, Pierro (2012) and Mossfun (2014) have gone on to win the Golden Slipper.

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