By Ray Hickson
It’s safe to say when Jean Dubois started training at Goulburn 18 months ago he wouldn’t have predicted he’d be in the mounting yard on Golden Slipper day with a live chance in the world’s richest two-year-old race.
The rise of unbeaten colt Aylmerton – named after the “quiet road” he lives on – has taken the French expat by surprise so he’s not quite sure what to expect come 4.10pm on Saturday.
Dubois admits the past week has been stressful as he’s waited for his biggest moment.
It has been made no easier by the deal with Coolmore that values the colt at around $20 million should he emerge as a Slipper winner – compare that to a house in the small town of Aylmerton which averages around $550,000.
“There’s always stress when you’re racing a horse in a big race,’’ Dubois said.
“You’re always afraid something will happen in the last few days, stupid things or a temperature. Anything can happen with horses.
“It’s a fairy tale. I knew the horse was good from the first time he trialled but you can never expect to be in the Slipper with a good chance.’’
Aylmerton, the horse, emerged as a chance in the $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens by winning the Group 2 Todman Stakes at Randwick two weeks ago.
In that race Punters Intel data showed Aylmerton recorded the fastest last 600m of 34.15 including the quickest final 200m in 11.77.
Vancouver (2015) and Pierro (2012) have converted Todman wins to Slipper success in recent years and Aylmerton has the bonus of carrying Vancouver’s Slipper winning rider Tommy Berry.
“He pulled up very well after the Todman. We gave him a good gallop on Tuesday and it’s just been cantering, swimming and walking to keep him fresh,’’ Dubois said.
“I think he is a good horse, he improved a lot from his first start and after watching him gallop I think he has improved from his last start.
“We have a good draw in the middle, we have an experienced and good jockey on. The bad thing is the ground, you don’t know until you try but he looks like a good ground horse.’’
Aylmerton wins the Todman Stakes at Randwick on March 10
That statement is interesting as Aylmerton does have a Soft 7 win against his name from his debut win at Canterbury so any improvement in the Rosehill track will be to his advantage.
He’s a $17 chance with TAB in the Slipper, the same price he started when winning the Todman.
“He’s a small stocky type and doesn’t look like a horse that will handle very heavy ground,’’ Dubois said.
Interestingly, Aylmerton is one of only four horses in Australia by the sire Siyouni and the only one currently named.
Siyouni has produced two Group 1 winners in Europe and both have won on ground considered soft including Ervedya winning a major at Longchamps on a ‘very soft’ track.
Aylmerton holds a nomination for the Group 1 $1m Inglis Sires’ (1400m) at Royal Randwick on April 7 but Dubois said any decision on continuing the colt’s preparation will depend on how he comes through the Slipper and whether he handles the conditions.