Trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace are drawing inspiration from former champion juvenile Capitalist as they plan a Golden Slipper bid for Magic Millions Classic winner Away Game.
Annabel Neasham, who oversees the Sydney arm of the Maher/Eustace operation, has no doubt Away Game has the ability and toughness to press on to the Slipper.
“It has been done before. Capitalist did it so you can get them to peak twice in reasonably quick succession and she is a horse with a really good constitution,” Neasham said.
But Away Game’s first mission is to cement a Slipper spot.
While the filly has banked more than $1.5 million, her prize money from the Gold Coast does not count towards Slipper qualification, prompting connections to chase the $83,000 purse for the winner of Saturday’s Widden Stakes (1100m) at Randwick.
“We originally planned to give her one run into the Slipper but without the prize money counting for the Magic Millions, she only has about $80,000,” Neasham said.
“If she wins this on the weekend then she probably ensures herself a spot on prize money and then we can decide if she goes straight into the Slipper or if she runs again.”
Away Game headlines a small but select Widden Stakes field which includes Philizzy, a solid winner on debut for Anthony Cummings, and the Chris Waller-trained Centimental.
Neasham said tactics would be left to Tom Marquand, who also rides stablemate Prague in the Listed Canonbury Stakes (1100m) for the colts and geldings.
Marquand takes over from Tommy Berry, who had already committed to the Snowden-trained Nitrous in the Canonbury.
Prague has raced once for an impressive win under lights at Canterbury and while he is on the Slipper trail, he is regarded as an ideal type for the Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m).
“We weren’t planning to run Prague in this race but he came through his last run so well we decided to give him a start,” Neasham said.
“He is a horse we have a really good opinion of.
“We think we’ve got a nice horse for the Sires’ so the Slipper will be his initial target but we want to make sure we have enough horse for the Sires’ two weeks later.”
Neasham confirmed reigning 2020 Golden Slipper favourite Cellsabeel would be nominated for the $2 million Inglis Millennium at Warwick Farm on Saturday week but a final decision on a start has not been made.