As the curtain falls on Slots’ career, her trainer and owners are set to say an emotional goodbye.
Their mighty mare will have her final start in the Listed Toy Show Quality (1300m) at Randwick on Saturday.
“I told the owners last run was supposed to be it, but the stud where she’s going to stay while she waits to be served said she could have another run,” trainer Grant Marshall said.
That prompted enthusiastic owners Tavis Chivers, Grant Hartmann and Kel Sullivan to wonder whether her career could be extended further, but the breeding barn awaits.
Not that they haven’t had a great ride.
The Newcastle-based Marshall paid $1700 for Slots at a dispersal sale for Nathan Tinkler’s Patinack Farm and the Group-placed mare has collected more than $320,000 prize money.
Her biggest win came in the Listed Just Now Quality at Doomben in December when apprentice jockey Lester Grace won his first stakes race.
Grace has ridden the mare in 12 of her past 14 starts, only missing out when senior riders took over in two unplaced efforts during the Queensland winter carnival.
“He’s done a good job on her,” Marshall said.
“We could have had him in Brisbane but we tried to change something and it didn’t work.”
Grace is booked to ride Slots on Saturday at Randwick, where she comes into the race off a last-to-first win at Canterbury on July 23.
“I nearly had tears coming out of my eyes last time,” Marshall said.
While Marshall admits everyone will miss Slots, he says his son and the horse’s strapper Ryan might be most affected by her retirement.
“He loves her. Every night he gives her a cuddle before he goes to bed,” Marshall said.
And while the Just Now was her biggest success, Marshall’s favourite of Slots’ seven wins also involved his son.
Marshall was at a friend’s wedding on a cruise ship, leaving Ryan and a float driver in charge of Slots as she kicked away for her first city victory at Canterbury in November last year.
“It was so good for my son,” Marshall said.
Slots is set to meet the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Tycoon Tara, the winner of the Group Two Missile Stakes at her last start, in the Toy Show.
Among the other entries are the Tim Martin-trained Group One Queen Of The Turf Stakes runner-up Heavens Above and Godolphin Group Two winner Pearls.