HISTORY OF THE GOLDEN SLIPPER STAKES
The Golden Slipper Stakes is unquestionably Australia’s glamour Two-Year-Old race.
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Attracting entries from all states and New Zealand and receiving the widest publicity throughout the country and in the USA and United Kingdom. It stamps the winner with the hallmark of fame early in its racing career.
The first Golden Slipper
Stakes in 1957 was won by TODMAN (ridden by N. Sellwood), who scored by 8 lengths and started 6 to 1 on. There were 11 starters and the result was never in doubt.
For the 1958 race there was a special condition introduced to enable horses not previously entered to be so entered on payment of a “late entry” fee of £1,000. Two horses were entered under this new condition, the Melbourne colt MISTING and the Sydney gelding CERASUS. The race was won by the 25 to 1 outsider SKYLINE, from the “late entry” MISTING. The other “late entry” finished well back.
The brilliant FINE AND DANDY was successful in the 1959 race, starting at 11 to 8 on favourite. He had previously won two sprint races against older horses before the Golden Slipper.
Only five starters contested the 1960 Golden Slipper and the winner, SKY HIGH, was a brother of the 1958 winner, SKYLINE. SKY HIGH started at 7 to 4 on favourite and defeated the brilliant filly, WENONA GIRL, by one and a half lengths.
MAGIC NIGHT became the first filly to win the race when she scored in 1961. She defeated YOUNG BROLGA by half a length, with the champion New Zealand colt, COMMANDING, four lengths away in third place. MAGIC NIGHT started at 15 to 1 and her win made it five winners in a row to her sire, the imported stallion, STAR KINGDOM.
The star South Australian filly, PROUD MISS, was a £1,000 “late entry” for the 1962 Golden Slipper. Of the 13 runners there were 9 fillies and, although PROUD MISS ran a great race, she was unable to withstand the finish of another filly, BIRTHDAY CARD. The time of the race was 1-11.4 which equalled the previous best set by TODMAN in 1957.
There was another “late entry” from South Australia in 1963. This time it was their champion colt, PAGO PAGO. Heavy rains in Sydney forced the club to postpone the race to the following Wednesday, but even with four days break the track was still very heavy. There was a tremendous betting duel between PAGO PAGO and the star Sydney gelding, TIME AND TIDE, and both horses started at 2 to 1. Despite racing very wide on the home turn PAGO PAGO came home the clear winner.
ESKIMO PRINCE, a handsome black colt by the first Slipper winner, TODMAN, scored a very convincing win in 1964. He was owned by Sydney’s leading punter, the late Perc Galea, and started a popular favourite at 7 to 4. The expected challenge from the two Victorian colts, LONGWOOD and STAR OF HEAVEN, did not eventuate, although the latter finished third, 6 lengths from the winner.
A field of 13 started in the 1965 race. It included three Victorian horses, the colts STAR AFFAIR and KING STAR and the filly CITIUS, and a South Australian gelding GLENSHAROLD. However, none of these visitors could match the speed and brilliance of the Sydney filly, REISLING. She led all the way and smashed the race record by three-tenths of a second in running 1-11.1. STAR AFFAIR was 1 ¼ lengths away second and CITIUS a similar distance away in third place.
In 1966, the photo-finish camera was used for the first time to decide the winner of the Slipper. Halfway down the straight it appeared that ACADEMY STAR, a $2,000 “late entry” would win, but South Australian filly, STORM QUEEN, flashed home down the outside to win by a head. Another filly VERY MERRY, was three-quarters of a length away in third place.
Nineteen horses representing four states contested the race in 1967. The field included the two top Queenslanders, PRINCE GAUNTLET and TOD MAID, the Victorian filly BEGONIA BELLE and the South Australian colt, JOKING. The race was won by the 40 to 1 outsider SWEET EMBRACE, a daughter of TODMAN and the first maiden to win the race since its inception.
The hitherto unbeaten colt BISCAY, was beaten by Mr. and Mrs. R.C. Reads ROYAL PARMA in 1968. However, Victoria was to have her revenge the following year, when the Melbourne champion VAIN, completely eclipsed a star studded field which included Sydney’s champion filly, SPECIAL GIRL, owned by the past Chairman of the Sydney Turf Club, the late Mr. W. Longworth.
The 1970 winner, BAGUETTE, gave veteran jockey George Moore his first Golden Slipper win, a feat which he was to repeat the following year on FAIRY WALK. BAGUETTE became Australia’s greatest stakes-winning two-year old.
In 1972 the race record of 1-11.1 established in 1965 was equalled by JOHN’S HOPE, giving jockey K. Langby his first success in the “Slipper”.
A sensational three horse fall which included the odds on favourite IMAGELE marred the 1973 race. The event was won by the Victorian gelding TONTONAN who gave the powerful Roy Higgins-Bart Cummings combination its second win in the race.
Trainer T.J. Smith and jockey K. Langby were successful in 1974 and 1975 with the two brilliant fillies, HARTSHILL and TOY SHOW, giving T.J Smith four winners of the “Slipper”.
Trainer Bart Cummings won his third “Slipper” in1976 when his brilliant filly VIVARCHI led all the way in 1-11.7, equalling the metric record for the race.
Patrons at the 1977 “Slipper” saw one of the greatest performances by a two-year old when the champion Newcastle colt LUSKIN STAR, showing brilliant speed, won by 7 lengths taking 1.7 seconds off the race record. The winner again showed the influence that STAR KINGDOM has had on the race, as his sire KAORU STAR is a STAR KINGDOM stallion.
A top field of two-year olds again contested the running of the 1978 Slipper with victory going to the champion Victorian gelding, MANIKATO.
1979 was a wide-betting race with bookmakers betting 9 to 2 the field. With 100 metres to go, the South Australian speedster DAWN COMMAND looked set for a win, but a tremendous finishing burst by CENTURY MISS carried her to victory by a head. It was only the second time that Photo-Finish camera was used and it gave Bart Cummings his 4th success in the “Slipper”. 18 year-old apprentice, Wayne Harris, became the youngest rider to win the event.
Fillies dominated the colts and geldings in the lead up races to the 1980 Golden Slipper, so it was not surprising to see fillies take the first three placings. The Neville Begg trained DARK ECLIPSE stormed home in the final stages to defeat JOY (IRE) by 1 ¼ lengths with BAGLAGA MISS ¾ length away third. The time of 1-10.4 was very smart being only 4 tenths of a second outside the race record.
The 1981 “Slipper” saw the unbeaten colt CROWN JESTER sent out as a 6/4 favourite on a slow track, but it was left to the well bred Victorian colt, FULL ON ACES, trained by Angus Armanasco and ridden by Queensland jockey L. “Mick” Dittman to record an exciting ¾ length x 2 lengths victory over fillies FOOD FOR LOVE and ROSE OF KINGSTON in time of 1-13.1.
Rosehill trainer Jack Denham became the second trainer to “Quinella” the “Slipper” when MARSCAY (R Quinton ) defeated VAINDARRA ( L. Dittman ) in 1982. This win gave Sydney’s leading jockey R Quinton his first victory in the Two-Year Old Classic.
Quinton did not have to wait long for his second winner when he guided the champion colt SIR DAPPER to victory in 1983. SIR DAPPER recorded a race record time of 1-09.9, defeating BEEN THERE and the Blue Diamond winner LOVE A SHOW.
In 1984, the 1969 “Slipper” winner VAIN became the first sire since STAR KINGDOM to produce successive Golden Slipper winners when 18 year old apprentice Darren Beadman won on the chestnut gelding INSPIRED. The outsider LOVE A KISS finished fast for second, with ROYAL TROUBADOUR, one of a record five “late entries”, in third place.
Leading South Australian trainer, Colin Hayes, trained his first winner of the “Slipper” when his well performed colt RORY’S JESTER defeated the previously unbeaten filly SPEED CHECK and the Melbourne colt TRUE VERSION in the 1985 Golden Slipper. The win also gave Ron Quinton his third winning ride in the classic.
Trainer T.J. Smith created history when his brilliant filly BOUNDING AWAY won the 1986 “Slipper”. He became the first person to breed, own and train the winner, as well as becoming the most successful trainer of “Slipper” winners, this being his fifth victory in the classic. Running the 1200 metres in 1-09.9 BOUNDING AWAY also equalled the race record for the event.
Sydney’s leading trainer, Brian Mayfield-Smith, was successful with his bay colt MARAUDING in the 1987 “Slipper”. Ridden by Ron Quinton, MARAUDING won by a short half head in the time of 1-10.69 and gave Ron his fourth victory in the race.
The vagaries of the barrier draw shed a new light on the Slipper of 1988, with 2 of the fancied runners ZEDITAVE (13/8) and STAR WATCH (13/2) allocated the extreme outside barriers for the Rosehill 1200 metres
To date, no runner had won the Slipper from outside 14 and while punters money saw both horses in the betting many “experts” were inclined to dismiss their chances from the outside. The pundits were to be proved wrong, however, as the Tommy Smith-trained STAR WATCH showed blistering speed to be well-placed for the run home, going on to score comfortably by ¾ length.
The bulk of punters’ money was well rewarded in the Slipper of 1989 when the Melbourne filly, COURTZA trained by Ross McDonald and ridden by Shane Dye and starting a 7/2 favourite took the honours.
For the first time since 1963 there was the real possibility of a postponement with heavy rain falling during the week leading up to Slipper Day 1990. Miraculously, however, the day dawned a fine one and, on a heavy track but with a clear sky, 6 colts and 10 fillies greeted the starter. At the post it was the BLETCHINGLY colt, CANNY LAD, which took the honours under the guidance of Shane Dye, doubling up from his Slipper success in 1989 to give Epsom (Vic) trainer, Rick Hore-Lacy, his first winner in the classic.
Records fell in the Slipper of 1991. Jockey, Shane Dye, completed an historic hat-trick of Slipper wins as he guided the Clarry Conners trained TIERCE to victory. In defeating the Blue Diamond Stakes winner CANONISE and BIG DREAMS, TIERCE clocked a sensational 1-09.30 for the 1200 metres, eclipsing the previous race record of 1-09.90 held jointly by SIR DAPPER and BOUNDING AWAY.
Shane Dye and Clarry Conners teamed up again in 1992, taking consecutive Slippers when BURST greeted the judge first, ahead of a well-balanced field. Only once before, in 74/75, had the feat been achieved, by the Tommy Smith/Kevin Langby combination. The crowd favourite, Canberra trained CLAN O’SULLIVAN, raced according to the script by taking up his favoured front running position but failed to stave of BURST’S dynamic finish, going down by a ½ length, with the outsider, LOVING CUP, a game third. For Shane Dye it was an unprecedented fourth straight Slipper win.
1993 saw the Slipper’s first winner come from the extreme outside barrier. Overcoming what most believed an insurmountable draw, the outstanding filly, BINT MARSCAY, not only blitzed her rivals to defeat JUSTICE PREVAILS and SPORTS WORKS by 2 ¼ lengths by 1 length, but did so in race record time of 1-08.88, a mere 8/100ths outside the course record. It was trainer Lee Freedman’s first success in the Slipper, Mick Dittman’s third and proved an exciting first-up performance for the owner, a newcomer to Australian racing, Sheikh Rashid Bin Hamdan Al-Hahyan.
In an all interstate finish in 1994 DANZERO proved to strong for the David Hayes pair ST. COVET and RACER’S EDGE by a short head with 1 ½ lengths between second and third. It was Lee Freedman’s second win and jockey Greg Hall’s first. High drama followed when the protest siren sounded with objections being lodged by fifth against first and second and second against first. All protests were subsequently dismissed.
Glen Boss made the most of a late riding engagement and the rails barrier to win in 1995 on FLYING SPUR. Starting at 25/1 FLYING SPUR beat the future champion OCTAGONAL by half a neck with the filly MILLRICH a length away third. Favourites STRATEGIC and OUR MAIZCAY ran gallant races from their wide barriers. Lee Freedman continued his winning streak by making it three in a row.
The Slipper’s history of providing great racing, high drama and controversy continued when MERLENE was successful in 1996. The filly, gave Lee Freedman an unprecedented fourth consecutive win and was ridden by Greg Hall. Starting from barrier one she scored a decisive win after being extricated from the fence early in the straight. The Slipper of that year featured six last start winners and was shuttle stallion DANEHILL’S third consecutive win.
In 1997 one of the closes finishes in Slipper history eventuated when the colts GUINEAS and ENCOUNTER went to the line locked together. GUINEAS prevailed by a nose in the excellent time of 1-09.99. GUINEAS’ sire CROWN JESTER contested the 1981 Slipper and whilst unsuccessful he has left his mark by having sired two slipper winners. It was trainer John Hawkes first win and Darren Beadman’s second.
1998 welcomed a new sponsor in AAMI and again showed the importance of the Slipper to the industry with the winner, PROWL, being sired by a previous winner ( MARAUDING ). It was the eighth time that a Slipper winner had been sired by a previous winner. PROWL came away to win by 1 ¼ lengths and gave trainer Clarry Conners his third Slipper win and Chris Munce his first.
1999 saw the dramatic late scratching of race favourite REDOUTE’S CHOICE, who succumbed to travel sickness after arriving from Melbourne the day before. This left the door open for CATBIRD to become the first ever Black Opal Stakes winner to go on and win the Golden Slipper, and also gave trainer Frank Cleary and Jockey Mark De Montfort their first success in the race. CATBIRD narrowly defeated the John Hawkes trained ALIGN, which was part owned by his wife, with subsequent VRC and AJC Derby placegetter SHOGUN LODGE in third place. CATBIRD was also able to supply his champion sire Danehill with his fourth success in the race in seven years.
In one of the most sensational performances ever to win a Golden Slipper, flying filly BELLE DU JOUR claimed a last stride victory in the year 2000 event after missing the start and coming from last with a whirlwind finish. The win gave jubilant trainer Clarry Conners his fourth Golden Slipper victory in ten years, and young jockey Lenny Beasley his first. The effort of BELLE DU JOUR denied Lee Freedman a record fifth win in the event, with his filly CROWNED GLORY finishing a close second. Favourite ASSERTIVE LAD was a courageous third.
Gai Waterhouse created her own slice of Slipper history in 2001 by providing the trifecta with three of her five starters in the race. In a feat which may never be repeated, the Waterhouse trained horses HA HA, EXCELLERATOR and RED HANNIGAN filled the placings, also giving managing part-owner John Singleton’s Strawberry Hill Stud Syndicate their second consecutive success. Ridden by Jim Cassidy, HA HA scored a decisive length and a quarter victory, with her sire Danehill’s progeny now equalling the legendary Star Kingdom’s record of five Slipper Winners.
It was to be the year 2002 before Queensland could claim a Golden Slipper winner of their own when CALAWAY GAL came with a long sustained run to grab victory in the closing stages of the race. The filly, trained by Bruce Brown at Doomben, overcame somewhat of a hoodoo in that she was the first horse to win the race as a “late entry” since Pago Pago in 1963. Ridden by Scott Seamer (who rode four winners on this particular day) CALAWAY GAL defeated another “late entry” VICTORY VEIN, with CHOISIR coming from well back on the home turn to finish third.
In 2003, a professional filly by the name of POLAR SUCCESS etched her name into Golden Slipper history. Her victory gave trainer Graeme Rogerson and jockey Danny Beasley their first taste of Slipper glory, overcoming a wide draw to win decisively. In what was a year dominated by fillies, HOW FUNNY and HASNA completed the trifecta in another truly memorable event.
A classic front running display of speed saw DANCE HERO (Chris Munce) lead throughout to take out the 2004 race, emulating the feats of his sire Danzero ten years earlier. CHARGE FORWARD was runner up, with the odds-on favourite ALINGHI running on to finish in third spot. The win gave trainer Gai Waterhouse her second Golden Slipper success and was also the first time in history that the winner of the Gold Coast Magic Millions event in January was able to go on to victory in a Golden Slipper.
Not since Luskin Star’s demoralising win in 1977 had a novacastrian been successful in the Golden Slipper but in 2004 it was Newcastle colt STRATUM which landed the coveted prize. The win gave Newcastle mentor Paul Perry his first victory in this race and jockey Lenny Beasley his second win. FASHIONS AFIELD finished in second place with another filly MEDIA third.
2006 was the 50th anniversary of the Golden Slipper and David Hayes (son of legendary trainer Colin Hayes) trained his first Slipper winner when MISS FINLAND was successful. Aided by a masterful rail hugging ride by jockey Craig Williams, she defeated another filly, Toowoomba trained late entrant PURE ENERGY by a stunning 4 ½ lengths. Another David Hayes runner in C HURCHILL DOWNS wound up in third place.
Champion jockey Damien Oliver rode his first ever Golden Slipper winner in 2007 when a daughter of the Slipper winning sire Flying Spur, named FORENSICS, won the race from barrier one. The filly produced another victory for the powerful Woodlands Stud Syndicate who have been synonymous with Golden Slipper success. Forensics also gave trainer John Hawkes his second win the race. Second place went to ZIZOU, which was one of a record six runners in the field for the David Hayes stable. Third prize was snapped up by MEURICE. The 2007 Golden Slipper was richest run to date with a total purse of $3.5 million and prize money being paid down to tenth place.
The 2008 Golden Slipper saw Glen Boss answer the call from Gai Waterhouse and return home from riding in Hong Kong to ride SEBRING to victory. The undefeated SEBRING maintained his unbeaten status giving his connections plenty of reason to smile. Second place went to the fast finish VON COSTA de HERO for David Hayes and third place went to the Peter Snowden trained PORTILLO. Late Entrant Augusta Proud finished 9th.
2009 saw the AAMI Golden Slipper head north to Queensland. Winner PHELAN READY saluted by 2 ¼ lengths for his trainers Bruce and Jason McLachlan. Runner up HEADWAY and third place getter MANHATTAN RAIN tried their best in the heavy conditions but couldn’t match the winner. Late entrants Marquardt finished 6th and Rostova 11th.
In 2010, one of the most widely supported fields in Slipper history had punters on the edge of their seats right to the very finish. In the home straight, Victoria’s CRYSTAL LILY upset her local rivals when she skewed to the outside rail to win, denying Clarry Conners a record-breaking fifth Slipper win with DECISION TIME finishing a half-length behind and MORE STRAWBERRIES completing the 1200m in third place.
Late scratchings and the ensuing delayed start didn’t upset Sepoy, who jumped well and travelled nicely before unleashing a big finish and leaving the others well behind. The race favourite went to the post some two lengths clear of rank outsider Mosheen and Elite Falls in third.
Gai Waterhouse has always said Pierro would win the Golden Slipper Stakes. The colt stormed home to narrowly win the day’s feature event at Rosehill. Early pacesetter was Snitzerland while Pierro was held back by jockey Nash Rawiller. Snitzerland raced in the straight leading looking the winner for a famous victory but Pierro was chasing and overtook Snitzerland to win well, Snitzerland ran 2nd while pre-race favourite Samaready made good ground to finish third.
Joining a prestigious list of star juveniles, Gai Waterhouse’s speedy filly Overreach has won the 2013 Golden Slipper at Rosehill Gardens. Overreach backed up to easily defeat former Golden Slipper favourite Villa Verde. Overreach ($2.80F) was away from barrier one draw well and settled into second place just behind Kuroshio who set the pace and Sweet Idea in third position. With 300m to go Overreach sprinted well and she was able to sprint to the front and win well.
The 2014 Golden Slipper Stakes has been won by Mossfun who recovered from missing the start to score a sensational narrow win over favourite Earthquake. Mossfun was the last horse out of the gates but was given a great ride by Jockey James McDonald and stormed home on the inside of the track to score her maiden win at Group 1 level in the 2014 Golden Slipper Stakes.
Vancouver maintained his unbeaten record by overcoming an outside barrier and a very tough run to fight off his stablemate English in an exciting finish to the $3.5 million Golden Slipper Stakes run over 1200 metres at Rosehill Racecourse. Before a large crowd of over 19,500, Gai Waterhouse now with six Golden Slipper winners to her name, the others being Ha Ha (2001), Dance Hero (2004), Sebring (2008), Pierro (2012) and Overreach (2013).
Capitalist ridden by Blake Shinn wins the 2016 Golden Slipper Stakes. Second to Capitalist was Yankee Rose, 1/2 length ridden by Zac Purton and running 3rd was Flying Artie 1-3/4 lengths. Shinn put Capitalist in a good position after jumping well from barrier 2 just off the pace, and then went to the lead in the straight and won convincingly.
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