I never thought I would be the type to indulge in racing superstitions but I have to confess to being a little wary to write an update on how Oakleigh Girl is progressing towards the 2014 Tooheys New Golden Slipper.
The big day will dawn tomorrow and I must admit I am getting more and more excited with every message of good luck we receive. Over the last few weeks Danny and I have been flying back and forth so that one of us is looking after the horses at home whilst the other looks after 'the girls' in Sydney.
As most of you know Oakleigh Girl (OG) or Annie (reference to her dam Miss Kournikova) was going to have a good long spell after her brave second in the Magic Millions. However a couple of weeks TLC by the team at Oakwood Farm and she had bounced back and was fresh and ready to go. Danny met with the connections and it was decided to give her a shot at the Slipper.
There is something very special about the Golden Slipper. It is more than the substantial $3.5M in prizemoney on offer, it more than a Group 1 race, it is a breed shaping race. The Golden Slipper is a race that every owner, trainer and jockey dreams of being in the field let alone winning.
This year the nominations started out at a massive 1641 contenders only to be whittled down to 218 by the second round of nominations. There has even been one late nomination paying up a cool $150K late fee. The field now exists of 16 of the best, most precocious, 2 year olds in the land eight fillies and eight colts.
Since its inception in 1957, the 1200m Golden Slipper held at Rosehill, has been the primary source of Champion Australian Stallions. Names like Todman, Vain, Luskin Star,, Marscay, Catbird, Maurauding, Flying Spur, Danzero, and in more recent years Sepoy, Sebring and Pierro have won the race. Even the runners up like Octagonal, Charge Forward, Testa Rossa and Fastnet Rock end up as household names within the industry.
The fillies have also left their mark on the race and over the years provided some of the most memorable wins. Who would ever forget Belle Du Jour missing the start to record a freakish last to first win. The residual valve of a filly who makes the final field is dramatically increased and if fortunate to win or place her future progeny always create strong interest at the sales.
We are so grateful to have a runner in the field and we look forward to a wonderful day tomorrow. Thank you to everyone who has sent messages of support it means a great deal to us to know that the whole stable of owners is behind our girl. We also want to acknowledge the efforts of our team which all have put in the extra effort to keep the stable running smoothly. Special thanks must also go to 'Golden Hands' Michael Bryant, Gary 'Master Farrier' Dagnell and our fantastic vets especially Dr Mark McGarry and Dr Tom Brennan.
Lastly, and most importantly we are extremely grateful for the support of Steve and Louise Gillard who believed that if given the right horses Danny was up for the job. Words cannot express how happy we are to be in this position and to be able to repay their faith so quickly by having a runner in such a prestigious race.