By Brad Gray
At Royal Randwick
You’d have thought after the running of the Riesling Stakes and Todman Stakes the Golden Slipper picture would be a while lot clearer. Wrong. Unless you are in the Sunlight camp, and she didn't even race.
Estijaab, despite winning, drifted in TAB’s Golden Slipper market before Hugh Bowman was sensationally thrown off Performer approaching the 100m mark in the Todman, which was won by Aylmerton.
Estijaab fights off all challengers to win the Reisling.
Both races were won in quick time with Estijaab shaving more than a second off English’s race record before Andrew Adkins scraped paint on Aylmerton stopping the clock just outside of Vancouver’s race record.
Michael Hawkes said of Estijaab, “The thing with this girl is you just hit the go button and she really wants to attack the line. They came at her late, in saying that how quick can you go, running 1:09?”
“Today was about looking after her, helping her and getting the job done. She was there to be beaten. People look at how far it’s not about how far – you look at the times which say she has done it. We’ve got a live chance.”
Despite the margin, which was less than half a length, Brenton Avdulla said he was never in any danger of being beaten before also suggesting she still has upside.
“She stands right up against the ‘V’ in the gates and as soon as she feels a bit of movement she is off. That gate speed is going to take her a long way but she is so professional,” Avdulla said.
“She pinged the lids and I just decided to ride her like was a good horse. I was positive on her but from the 700m onwards she was actually floating, waited for me to give her the go ahead. She wobbled around a bit but when she felt them get around her she levelled out and her last 100m was her best 100m.”
“She’s a gem to ride. She’s obviously still learning her craft, she hasn’t seen a backside before. After riding her today I have no doubt that she will travel better with a bunny in front of her.”
Adkins, meanwhile, has no doubt that Aylmerton has the talent and scope to be in the finish of the Golden Slipper.
“Going forward at the rate he is going, he’ll be very competitive,” Adkins gushed.
“He is a very nicely balanced horse with a very bright future. The way he got to the line was pretty incredible. He is still very inexperienced, green and raw but I think it helped him having the runner to the outside of him today. It shocked him. He bounced off the fence once or twice.”
Atlmerton after taking out the Todman Stakes, again in slick time. pic.twitter.com/RDqLy0syaH
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) March 10, 2018
In early February, trainer Jean Dubois was celebrating his first city winner with Mate Story taking out a Highway Handicap. Today, he claimed a $300,000 Group Two feature and it wasn’t lost on the astute Frenchman.
“It is more than incredible, it is a miracle. You always dream of things like this but don’t believe it can happen. You see I’m training five two-year-olds,” Dubois said.
“He proved today that he can fight so he has everything to make a good horse.”
As TAB’s Golden Slipper market stands, Sunlight is $4 favourite ahead of Estijaab at $6. Performer was eased to $8 while Aylmerton had his price slashed from $101 into $15.
Early reports are that Hugh Bowman was conscious and talking, before being taken to St Vincent’s Hospital. Monitor the Racing NSW website for further updates.