Santos remains Gai Waterhouse’s leading contender for a seventh Golden Slipper after his Skyline Stakes win with Melbourne trainer Mick Price introducing a filly to Sydney as he searches for his first.
The Price-trained Seabrook ($7.50) upset the $4.40 favourite Fiesta in Saturday’s Sweet Embrace Stakes to stamp her claims 40 minutes after Santos won his lead-up.
Santos eased slightly in 2018 Golden Slipper odds from $9 to $11 with the TAB reacting to Seabrook’s win by bringing her in from $51 to $15 for the $3.5 million race in three weeks with Sunlight holding $4.60 favouritism.
Seabrook missed a start in last week’s the Group One Blue Diamond Stakes after an unlucky third in the Prelude and Price switched his focus to the Slipper.
“It’s a great feeling coming to Sydney and taking their prizes,” Price’s representative Pat Kearney said.
“We’ve always had a bit of an opinion of her and it’s onwards to the Slipper now.”
Waterhouse is maintaining her faith in Santos who started at $1.75 in the Skyline and scrambled in to beat Spin ($6.50) by a half neck with Legend Of Condor ($21) another short head third.
“The track was against him. He couldn’t pick up and it was a very leisurely run race,” Waterhouse said.
“He is a serious colt but he’s still learning his craft.
“He has a beautiful action. He is so smooth the way he glides. He’s a serious chance in the Slipper.”
Both Tim Clark and Hugh Bowman, who rode Santos and Seabrook respectively, agreed the soft ground was a new element and the wind was strong.
“There was a head wind which was quite testing,” Bowman said.
“But she showed her class and did it the hard way out wide.”
Clark said there were a couple of things against Santos who had to be re-shod in the mounting yard after shedding a plate.
“He’s not the greatest horse out of the gates but he is getting better,” he said.
“I think he paraded a lot better considering the circumstances before in the mounting yard.
“Having to get re-plated is not ideal, and he had a bit of a kick out going through the tunnel as well.
“So things didn’t go exactly to plan but he showed his class.”