By Ray Hickson
Mick Price couldn’t help but dream of the Golden Slipper after gun colt Profiteer made a one horse show of the $2m Inglis Millennium (1100m) at Royal Randwick.
The youngster is now $5 second favourite with TAB in next month’s $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper behind another unbeaten two-year-old in Enthaar ($4.50) and it seems the big clash will be reserved for Rosehill on March 20.
Hugh Bowman took no chances by firing Profiteer straight on the lead and his position only improved as he ran out a 5-1/4 length winner over outsider Baranof who nosed Pagasi out of second place.
Price, who co-trains with Michael Kent Jnr, was concerned early the as Capitalist colt sped along in front but that concern was short lived and it seems the Blue Diamond is drifting and now it’s all about the Slipper.
“You probably have to have a pick between the two races, and if I had to have a pick I’d be picking the Golden Slipper,” Price said.
“I must say I was a bit concerned when the sectionals came up and he was breaking 11 (seconds). I did think to myself in all those races when they break 11 the query is whether they finish off.”
Profiteer reeled off sub-11 second splits for the 1000m-800m (10.32) and the 800m-600m (10.70), via Punter’s Intelligence, as he broke open the field and showed the hallmarks of a smart two-year-old by sustaining it and winning by a dominant margin.
Now that Profiteer has all but ensured his place in the Golden Slipper field, while the first prizemoney was $1.16 million only about $70,000 is counted towards the Group 1 as the Millennium is restricted to Inglis sold horses, Price said he’ll like have a Sydney lead up.
“I think it would be very difficult for what we’ve done with him to take him back to Melbourne for the Blue Diamond,’’ he said.
“That’s two weeks (away) and it’s another four weeks to the Slipper. He was more or less set for today.
“These two-year-olds don’t hold up forever and you can’t ask them to go and go and go.
“He was clearly the best horse here. I thought he was very brilliant on the day, he just has to win a Slipper.”
There are no shortage of lead up races to the Slipper, most of the top colts tend to favour the Group 2 $300,000 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick two weeks prior to the grand final.
Jockey Hugh Bowman, who won last year’s Golden Slipper on Farnan, said he can’t wait to see what Profiteer might do if he can come back a notch early in his races and relax.
Despite the boom on Ciaron Maher and David Eustace’s filly Enthaar, Bowman declared it is Profiteer who stands tallest among the two-year-olds at the moment.
“I think on what we saw today the world is his oyster as far as two-year-old races go and he’s probably the benchmark so far,’’ Bowman said.
“Although I wouldn’t say it earlier I had a feeling he might do that but you can never be too confident because horse racing is horse racing.
“You only had to look at him before the race and he looked healthy and well and comfortable. He can only improve on that too I think.
“If anything I’d like him to harness that energy a little more midrace particularly as he steps up against, one, better horses and, two, a little bit further.”
What the beaten jockeys had to say:
Nash Rawiller (Baranof): “He’s a really nice horse. A hard run 1200m or seven furlong race is more up his alley.”
Rachel King (Pegasi): “Massive run. Just a bit green this way first time but will take a lot of improvement.”
Kerrin McEvoy (Nice For What): “Good run. Had to go back from the draw and made up many lengths in the straight.”
Brenton Avdulla (Arthur Francis): “He went awesome. Took a bit of work to find his spot. He had a good run throughout. He’ll be a really nice horse next prep.”
Kathy O'Hara (Hi Hi Hi): “Nice run. She got a long way back from the draw but really got to the line well late.”
Profiteer wins the Inglis Millennium at Randwick
Robbie Dolan (Mistaken Identity): “She ran really well. She is going to be a filly who is going to get over further. Good run today.”
Jason Collett (Mystic Gem): “Copped a bit of interference early but just plateaued out last 100m.”
Sam Clipperton (Paper Daisy): “Ran really well. She is a nice filly., 3yo filly for the future. Will improve a lot off that effort.”
Andrew Banks (Mandalong Cash): “Good run. Just didn’t handle the going. Expect a better showing on top of the ground.”
Tommy Berry (Ashema): “Little bit disappointing.”
Tom Sherry (Festival Dancer): “Ran ok. She is going to be nicer when she fills out a bit more.”
Ryan Maloney (Keefy): “Copped a bad bit of buffeting and never regained composure.”
Jay Ford (Rivabrook): “Nice enough horse. Came off the bridle a long way in these conditions. Struggled from that point on.”
Tim Clark (Jessica Rabbit): “She raced very flat today.”