By Ray Hickson
Expensive filly Estijaab has made a strong case for Golden Slipper campaign with her dynamic debut win at Randwick on Saturday.
The Snitzel youngster, who set His Excellency Nasser Lootah back $1.7m, made a one-act affair of the Australian Fire Hose Plate (1000m) and prompted co-trainer Michael Hawkes to dream of a second Slipper for the Emirates Park boss.
The first was with Mossfun who took out the world’s richest two-year-old race in 2014.
“I know she has a big price tag but she doesn’t know what she is yet,’’ Hawkes said.
“We’re just happy we have the score on the board right away. She’s a really nice filly. Since she’s stepped into our stable she’s very relaxed and had a good attitude and it really shone.
Re-live Estijaab's dominant debut win at Randwick on Saturday
“Mum (Group 1 winner Response) was a very good racehorse and of course dad was too but you have to bring that to the course.’’
TAB posted Estijaab on the third line of betting at $15 for the $3m Golden Slipper (1200m) run on March 24 behind Magic Millions winner Sunlight and Breeders’ Plate winner Performer who has his second trial at Rosehill on Monday.
Jockey Brenton Avdulla had to ask the filly to work overtime in the early stages, with Punters Intel showing she ran 10.41 between the 800m and 600m to cross to the fence.
She also possessed the best turn of foot late with an 11.29 last 200m almost half a second faster than any other recorded time.
“I probably would have liked him to cross a bit earlier but he had to use a bit of juice,’’ he said.
“I know it’s only one corner but her biggest advantage is her gate speed. She’s hopefully Slipper bound but we’ll take it one step at a time.’’
Estijaab held a four length margin over Dio D’Oro while Tell No Tales was a further 2-1/4 lengths away.
Avdulla was suitably impressed with the youngster’s performance and was happy to give her a decent rap post-race.
“She’d be the best filly I’ve ridden and she’d be right up there with the leading contenders for sure,’’ Avdulla said.
“I’ve been waiting for her for a while to be honest. She is a speed filly so from the outside gate she jumped quickly and I rode her for speed.
“She’s been very well educated and turned up today and did everything right.’’
While Estijaab had favourite backers off on the right foot it’s back to the drawing board for the early elect Ruling Symbol who was slowly away and was one of the first horses beaten as he dropped out to finish second last.