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29/3/2002 edition

Barrier Draw Decides
Golden Slipper Winner

Victory Vein grabbed in last stride

There's little doubt the barrier draw cost Victory Vein victory in the $2,500,000 Golden Slipper last Saturday at Rosehill. Despite her barrier speed, the smart filly had to do just that extra little bit of work from barrier 12 to take up a good position on the pace.

Victory Vein burst away at the 200 and looked the winner, but the extra effort told. Calaway Gal, who started from barrier six, and as expected, superbly ridden by Scott Seamer, got up to grab Victory Vein on the line.

Only the week before at Rosehill, Victory Vein defeated Calaway Gal by 1.3 lengths over the same distance. Victory Vein had barrier five of 11. Calaway Gal had barrier 10.

If Victory Vein had drawn anywhere from one to six in the Golden Slipper she would have comfortably won the race.

By the way, so much for all those in the racing media who doubted whether these two fillies could back up within a week. We even heard that Victory Vein was at the end of her campaign. Trainers know their horses and plan for a $2,500,000 race. How silly it was to say the filly had already peaked and was on the way down.

We were also told that Calaway Gal was too small to handle such a pressure race. As if 52.5kg. was too much of a burden from a good barrier with an outstanding jockey.

Was Bel Esprit a false favourite?

Here are some e mail comments we received about Bel Esprit from a correspondent who "used to punt for a living". They make interesting reading:

"Hi Neil,
It's easy to say after the fact, however:

1. Bel Esprit had not raced for four weeks before the Slipper.

2. Two year olds don't peak twice in the same campaign - assuming Bel Esprit peaked in the Blue Diamond (which is highly likely).

3. In a 1200m field of 15 at Rosehill, barrier one is a bad draw. They invariably get blocked (in such fields barriers four to eight are best).

4. Bel Esprit had not raced right handed before or at Rosehill (barrier trials are a waste of time - they are not races).

5. Lee Freedman has trained four Golden Slipper winners - none of them won the Blue Diamond, from memory (could be wrong) none of them ran in the Blue Diamond and all started at Rosehill before racing in the Slipper - tells you something doesn't it?

6. All the above was known before the race and although it didn't isolate the winner, it certainly showed Bel Esprit was not a good chance to win and should not have been favourite."

Kept anonymous by request.

Key runs worth noting from the Golden Slipper are:

Bel Esprit:
A generous $5.00 was available on track on raceday about the champ from Melbourne. That sure beat the pathetic $3.00 and shorter offered in prepost betting in the days leading up to the race where you also lost your money if the horse was scratched.

Bel Esprit was surprisingly beaten for early speed. He also appeared not to handle the track and hit the running rail. Bel Esprit was held up in the straight and badly checked Fatoon as Jockey Wayne Treloar desperately tried to get a run. Finished a close fifth.

With no disrespect intended to Wayne Treloar, who is an underrated, very competent jockey and was undefeated on Bel Esprit, but you can't help wondering how Bel Esprit would have gone with Scott Seamer in the saddle.

He was running a big race until flattened by Bel Esprit.

Dealt no favours by the barrier draw - 14. Was not far away and would have been right in the finish with a decent barrier.

From the Hawkes' stable and primed for a big run. Darren Beadman settled him well back and wide in the field from barrier 13. Planchet also covered plenty of extra ground around the home turn to make his run and finished powerfully for a close fourth.

The other runner from the Hawkes's stable and also worth watching. Finished tenth, but was not that far away.

Before Too Long:
Trained by Gary Portelli at Warwick Farm, it certainly won't be "Before Too Long" that this filly wins in the city. She started at $151.00 and put in one of the runs of the race!

She had the widest barrier of the field, 15, and in a fast run race led the field. Instead of dropping right out at the business end she fought hard all the way to the line and was only beaten by a couple of lengths.

The Golden Slipper was run in the race record time of 1:08.81. That was 0.16 seconds faster than Crete took to win the last race of the day over the same distance, an Open, Listed handicap.

Next pages
Golden Slipper Day favourites
Loyalty costs you money
Jockey Watch - the contrasting tale of two jockeys
Money talks - plunge horses
Future winners at big odds
Betting packages

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