Quartet line up to break freshman Slipper drought

8 min read
It has been nine years since the progeny of a first-season stallion has won Australia's richest and most prestigious 2-year-old race, the Golden Slipper S. But the class of 2019 have a significant chance of breaking that drought with four runners in Saturday's race at Rosehill.

Stratum was the last stallion to win the G1 Golden Slipper S. with his first crop thanks to the filly Crystal Lily in 2010, while before that you have to go back to 1994 when Danzero, from the first Australian crop of the legendary Danehill (USA), won the race.

Rubick, Deep Field, Time For War and Sidestep are all represented in Saturday's 16-horse field via Yes Yes Yes, Cosmic Force, Time To Reign and Kiamichi respectively.

The upside for those who stand those stallions is clear. Colm Santry, Coolmore's Nominations & Sales Manager, said the impact for Rubick, who has stood for $17,600 in his first four seasons, would be substantial.

"A Golden Slipper winner for any sire is extremely significant, as it is the race every owner and breeder wants to win." - Coolmore's Nominations & Sales Manager, Colm Santry

"A Golden Slipper winner for any sire is extremely significant, as it is the race every owner and breeder wants to win. For a first-season sire with only 21 runners such as Rubick it carries even greater significance, especially if it was to come from a quality colt such as Yes Yes Yes," he said.

Yes Yes Yes represents Rubick in the Golden Slipper

Coolmore secured a deal for part ownership of the colt ahead of his run on Saturday,

As one of the owners in Cosmic Force, a success by the Deep Field colt on Saturday would be massive for Newgate, which has stood his stallion for $22,000 since he served 257 mares in first year.

General Manager Bruce Slade said the presence of an in-form Cosmic Force in such a big race was a huge moment for all of those involved with the farm.

"We are going to get down there with a good number of people from the farm which will be really good," he said.

"Obviously, a lot of time and effort goes into launching these stallions and getting their foals and raising the stock. I'm just really excited for the whole farm, for the shareholders in the horse, for the breeders that have been supporters, for the buyers and trainers that have backed him, it’s an exciting time."

Telemon Thoroughbreds secured Sidestep via an agreement with Darley ahead of last breeding season, with General Manager Joe Heather saying an upset win for Kiamichi would be a huge result not just for the stallion, but for the breeders who have already supported him.

Kiamichi winning the G3 Magic Night S.

"It would be a fantastic result for us and our clients who supported him, and who have mares in foal to him," he said.

"There will be lots of parties cheering him on should Kiamichi get the job done for him." - Telemon Thoroughbreds General Manager Joe Heather

"It would also be terrific for the Godolphin team obviously. They’ve got an incredible string of 2-year olds, and they supported the stallion before we had the opportunity to stand him for them. There will be lots of parties cheering him on should Kiamichi get the job done for him."

Success by Time for War's colt, Time To Reign, the half-brother to 2017 Golden Slipper S. heroine She Will Reign (Manhattan Rain), would be bittersweet for his former home at Kitchwin Hills. The son of Snitzel died of a colic attack after just two seasons at stud.

Four-strong chance at breaking drought

Four Slipper runners by first-season sires is the most in over a decade. Three editions of the Slipper this decade have featured no horses in that category, while last year it was three. Interestingly, the two runners in the 2010 edition, finished first and second, with Crystal Lily beating Decision Time (Foreplay).

Slade believes the strong representation is a reflection of a particularly deep crop of stallions who went to stud in 2015.

"I think it says a lot about the calibre of horses that retired that year. It was such a good quality group of horses. I just remember it being a huge year and really competitive. When those good horses retire, thankfully they get supported with some really nice mares and we have got where we have now," he said.

Newgate's Deep Field will be represented by Cosmic Force

Another interesting quirk this year is that the two leading first-season sires on prizemoney, Better Than Ready and Brazen Beau, are not represented.

It’s a Yes for Rubick

Rubick is currently third on that list, with five winners, highlighted by his lone stakes-winner Yes Yes Yes.

"From the beginning Yes Yes Yes has shown great potential. He has proven to be an extremely dynamic and tractable colt that has continued to improve from race to race," Santry said.

"Rubick is the most precocious son of Encosta De Lago and Yes Yes Yes was the first winner for his sire." - Colm Santry

"Rubick is the most precocious son of Encosta De Lago and Yes Yes Yes was the first winner for his sire. They are both blessed with great natural ability and great minds. Each of them have incredible temperaments which is so important for 2-year-olds to consistently perform at the top level."

Rubick is the most precocious son of Encosta De Lago

Deep Field is fourth, with four individual winners, and Slade said the impact of his first crop has exceeded Newgate's expectations.

"I don’t think we could be any happier. If you compare him directly to his own sire Northern Meteor at the same time, I think Deep Field is ahead of him. Northern Meteor had a crunching back end to his autumn and winter, and hopefully Deep Field can be the same," he said.

"He's just produced such good quality stock and they are all in the right stables." - Bruce Slade

"He's just produced such good quality stock and they are all in the right stables. He's covered 850 mares in his four years at stud and he's had a lot of good commercial support, a lot of good supporters breeding to him and the trainers and buyers have got stuck into his second crop. They’ve done really well this year."

Following the Field

Through its ownership, Newgate has kept a very close eye on Cosmic Force's development and Slade feels there are strong similarities between sire and son.

"I think No.1 he has a heap of natural speed. I think you have to have speed to pass it on, you can't teach speed," he said.

"If you go back and watch Cosmic Force's starts, he jumps half a length clear of the field every time and that allows him to put himself in a position."

"I think all the Deep Fields, from the feedback from the trainers, they possess natural speed, they have got good attitudes and they are good in the feed bin, they are the three key ingredients to horses winning and running at the top level."

Cosmic Force winning the G2 Pago Pago S.

Of all of the four first-season sires, Sidestep, was the only one to contest a Golden Slipper himself, having ran second to Overreach (Exceed and Excel) in the 2013 edition.

According to Heather, the precocity and speed he showed is evident in the filly Kiamichi, who will be one of six horses in the race for Godolphin.

"He was the first colt home in the Slipper, so I think she possesses similar early speed and scope to what he had himself." - Joe Heather

"He was obviously a very early, precocious and tough two year old himself. He was the first colt home in the Slipper, so I think she possesses similar early speed and scope to what he had himself."

Punching above their weight

As often is the case with ill-fated sires, Time For War is the one punching above his weight. Deep Field (251), Rubick (214) and Sidestep (134) all got triple figures of mares in the first season, but Time For War had only 74 at a fee of $12,100.

Of the 52 live foals from 2016, 10 have made their debuts for two winners.

The ill-fated Time For War

Sidestep has also had ten runners for two winners, including one stakes winner and Heather expects more success as more numbers hit the track.

"Kiamichi has been the obvious highlight," he said. "She was a Sydney Saturday winner prior to winning the Group 3 on the weekend. He's had another winner from small numbers to the track, so statistically he's doing great. The only thing missing at the moment, is numbers."