By Ray Hickson
Punters, we have a new Golden Slipper favourite and arguably the measuring stick for a two-year-old this season – his name is Tassort.
The impressive Godolphin youngster, a half-brother to Group 1 winners Astern and Alizee, threw down the gauntlet to his peers with an arrogant win in the $150,000 Golden Gift (1100m) at Rosehil on Saturday.
The colt started third favourite in the four horse field but put five lengths on his rivals, with jockey James McDonald basically a passenger, in the manner of an odds-on shot and a very smart youngster.
TAB reacted by installing him $11 for the 2019 Golden Slipper in March ahead of Gimcrack Stakes winner Catch Me ($13).
“It’s good to have arguably one of the more exciting two-year-olds around now,’’ trainer James Cummings said.
Tassort easily wins the Golden Gift at Rosehill
“Given we are about two and three-year-olds it’s exciting to have a horse like him that can provide somewhat of a benchmark for the rest of the crop.’’
Tassort’s stunning debut brought up Godolphin’s third two-year-old winner in the space of 14 days following wins by Kiamichi and Tenley.
Cummings said Tassort would now be given a break, having banked the $84,000 first prizemoney, to be given his chance in the Slipper and to ring up the first win in the royal blue colours in the world’s richest two-year-old race.
In its previous iteration, Godolphin (when racing in the Darley colours) won Slippers with Sepoy (2011) and Forensics (2007).
“There’s improvement to come and we’ve got to be very excited about him,’’ Cummings said.
“James did the right thing and assumed the box seat, the horse had to shoulder his way into the clear so that’s a wonderful experience for him on debut.
“There’s no doubt this race had a lot of build up, impressive triallers, one with race experience and a few that have been the ‘best two-year-olds’ some trainers have trained, and he’s been impressive drawing away.’’
Tassort clocked 33.75 for his last 600m, according to Punters Intel data, the only youngster to break 34 seconds and ran 11.38 for the last 200m which was 0.63 faster than the next best.
Easy win for Tassort in the Golden Gift, a half brother to G1 winners Astern and Alizee pic.twitter.com/pg3RMvifTr
— Racing NSW (@racing_nsw) November 24, 2018
McDonald said Tassort became quite warm in the parade and over at the starting gates, which isn’t unusual for a horse having its first start, and should benefit from the experience.
He’s adamant if he can improve his composure in his second preparation he’s have a serious colt to be reckoned with come Slipper time.
After positioning Tassort behind the leader Spaceboy, McDonald waited for a gap to open between the leader and the green favourite Cardiff and was taken aback by how quickly he put the race away.
“He’s got plenty of untapped ability, he’s the real deal,’’ McDonald said.
“I didn’t put him under a lot of pressure because I didn’t want him to spear away and do something silly.
“When he hit the gap my job was done, he just idled to the line. If I’d have got at him he’d have gone again.’’