Slipper raiders impress in trials

3 min read

By Bren O'Brien

G1 Golden Slipper S. bound trio Lyre (Lonhro), Loving Gaby (I Am Invincible) and Free of Debt (Unencumbered) ramped up preparations for the world's richest 2-year-old race by easily winning trials at Randwick on Thursday.

All three horses contested the G1 Blue Diamond S. with Lyre winning, Free of Debt running third and Loving Gaby sixth and go into the Golden Slipper off a four-week break between runs.

Thursday's trials were a crucial bridge between the two feature races and all three won with authority.

Loving Gaby, who will be ridden by Oisin Murphy in the $3.5m race, looked to have plenty in reserve and she travelled up on the outside of leader Shuwaamekh (Snitzel), and powered clear to win by 2.3l in a time of 44.40s.

That was 0.24s quicker than Free Of Debt ran in the following trial over the same distance, with the Chris Bieg trained and Aquis Farm-owned colt sitting deep and sweeping past his rivals to win by a widening 3.3l.

Dwayne Dunn jumped on board Free Of Debt for the first time ahead of riding him in the Golden Slipper and was impressed with what he saw.

“He’s such a laid-back customer, nothing fazes him." - Jockey Dwayne Dunn on Free Of Debt

“He’s such a laid-back customer, nothing fazes him,” Dunn said.

“He just hit the corners a little bit awkward at speed so it’s good to see him go through the motions and we are looking forward to Saturday."

“He quickened up lovely - got through the ground nicely. His asset is his attitude and his action, lovely horse and hopefully we can go all the way.”

Free of Debt is not nominated for the race but connections will pay up the late entry in the next few days. Dunn assumes the ride with Michael Walker set to ride the other Aquis-owned horse Dubious (Not A Single Doubt).

Lyre, who was such an impressive winner of the Blue Diamond, stepped out over the 1050m and having settled just off the pace, easily accounted for her rivals, winning by two lengths with something in hand.

Luke Currie, who rode her to her last start Group 1 success, flew up to Sydney for the trial.

Her time of 1:05.90, was 0.40s quicker than Catch Me (I Am invincible) ran in winning the opening 2-year-old heat.

Catch Me, trained by Peter and Paul Snowden, was a disappointing 10th in the Blue Diamond, but is also heading towards the Golden Slipper after her strong trial win.

Meanwhile, Godolphin confirmed the jockeys for four of its other main chances, with the possibility it could have up to half of the 16-horse field.

Tenley (Medaglia D'Oro {USA}) will be ridden by James McDonald, Microphone (Exceed and Excel) by Hugh Bowman, Exhilarates (Snitzel) by Kerrin McEvoy and Pin Sec (Lonhro) by Tommy Berry.

Other James Cummings-trained candidates for the race are Athiri (Lonhro), which isn’t nominated for the Golden Slipper, Bivouac (Exceed And Excel), Amercement (Lonhro) and Kiamichi (Sidestep).