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Slipper Hopes Hinge On Witness Statement

By Ray Hickson

John Sargent won’t hesitate in pointing Royal Witness towards the Golden Slipper if the youngster runs up to his impressive trials at his debut at Randwick on Wednesday.

The colt has been on the radar of trial watchers since his six length trial win back on October 31 but shin soreness forced Sargent to abort a Magic Millions campaign.

Royal Witness resurfaced with a close third behind Performer in a Rosehill trial last month and Sargent said he’s ready to start his Slipper charge in the Plate (1000m).

Such is the rap on Royal Witness, TAB has him rated a $26 chance in next month’s Golden Slipper.

“He showed plenty on the track but it wasn't until he trialled he showed he had something extra,’’ Sargent said.

“I thought we'd just start off here at Randwick and see where we are. If he delivers the goods we can put him up against the better ones.

“He's not a big horse, there's Snitzel on the dam side so he's well bred and a nice strong colt. He'll only have one or two runs leading in (to the Slipper).’’

What did you make of Royal Witness running third to Performer in their January 22 trial at Rosehill?

Royal Witness was a $60,000 yearling and Sargent said he’s always been a natural runner.

However, he was pleased to see the colt just miss the start slightly in his trial behind Performer because it proved he can handle sitting off the speed if required.

“He trialled really well first time leading and he was a shade slow last time so he had a nice trial with Corey (Brown) on from the back,’’ he said.

“He has a nice draw so he should possie up nice and handy, you can't lead them all the time but he should be thereabouts.

“The 1000m is like another trial for money.’’

Royal Witness attracted immediate attention from punters for his debut, firming with TAB from $2.90 into $2.50.

Second favourite Hiemal, $3.40, is also in the Slipper market at $51. The corresponding race last year, run at Warwick Farm, was won by subsequent Group 3 winner Dracarys.

Sargent said Equipped, his other Randwick runner, shouldn’t be underestimated in the Ranvet Handicap (2400m) after some consistent provincial form.

The four-year-old is a $13 chance with TAB and has only won once from 15 starts but has finished in the top three on 12 occasions including a last start second over 2000m on the Beaumont track at Newcastle.

“It's a nice chance to go town and give him a run,’’ he said.

“He's always been thereabouts at Newcastle but it's the right type of field. He should give an honest effort.

“He did get held up a bit before the turn last start, he's a bit of a grinder so from that draw we will be letting him roll along on the speed.’’

Check out the fields, form and replays for Royal Randwick on Wednesday

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