Gr1 Golden Horseshoe: Green For Go

Gimmethegreenlight - can he keep his unbroken record

If ever you had any doubt about the effect of the draw over the 1400m at Greyville, then these Winning Form graphs should help you finally wake up: it’s a real advantage to be drawn in single numbers, and the lower the better.  A full sixty percent of winners comes from the lowest five numbers (1-5). This year’s maximum field-size of sixteen for the Gr1 Golden Slipper will again claim its victims, just as it has done for the equivalent 2yo race on July day since Pa fell off the bus. A high number doesn’t say, of course, that you can’t win. But it does say you’ll have to overcome adversity, writes Karel Miedema.

You are justified to be worried then, about the ability of 4-time winner Gimmithegreenlight to retain his unbeaten record. The imported son of G1 producing sire More Than Ready scored three times in the Cape, including a win in the Somerset Plate. He sidestepped the Gold Medallion at Scottsville, and instead contested a juvenile plate over 1300m at this track a week later. Drifting in the betting from 8/10 to 15/10, he looked to be in trouble coming into the straight. That impression was quickly dispelled, as he quickened impressively to win going away, in the process putting up a career best rating. There seems to be every chance that he can show further improvement on that rating. Every little thing helps when you’re drawn in double figures!
The Aussie faces stiff opposition from a string of other imports. Charles Laird’s Rio Carnival (Marcus up), who beat fellow Australian Fighting Warrior by a head last time out. Rio Carnival had been second to Gimmithegreenlight the time before, when odds-on favourite, but beaten pointless.

Rio Carnival’s stable companion Tennessee Strategy, who finished second in the Gold Medallion to yet another stable companion, champion elect Delago deLuxe, who’s absent here. Tennessee rounded off his preparations for this race with a good win two weeks ago over 1300m at this track.Then there’s Mike de Kock, who fields runners for two Sheiks. Argentine-bred Terrible Gulch, who won his first two starts in good style, before running a shocker when Tennessee Strategy last won. He was reported to have been coughing and if sound could improve on his (winning) ratings. The second colt is Mushreq, an Australian bred by speedsire Flying Spur. Winner of his first start, then well beaten second time, also in Tennessee’s 1300m race. And thirdly Argentine colt Ginepri, who only won after acceptances had been done for this race and is a reserve runner. Kevin Shea was gushing about the future prospects of this colt, but strictly on rating he has a good few pounds to find.
Of all of these imports it is Terrible Gulch who seems to have the best combination of shown ability and draw – if only his last run hadn’t been what it was!

Rio Carnival

The locals will not take defeat lying down
One real contender must be Hard Rock, drawn five. Winner of his first two starts including a stakes race, he finished five lengths fifth to Delago deLuxe in the Gold Medallion, and just under 3 lengths off Tennessee Strategy (who ran second) at level weights. Then two weeks later he finished third to Tennessee, beaten a length and a half, but giving 2kg. Which gave him a rating higher than the winner’s one. Of course, Tennessee won with some in hand, so things may not be what they seem. Still, at Greyville on Saturday Hard Rock is drawn five, and his rival at 13. It might make a difference.

Natal stallion Mogok is represented by four of the sixteen runners, quite a feat. The best of the quartet may well be Alec Laird’s Sidestep, who is drawn one. He made his debut in April, showing some pace before finishing third over 1000m at Turffontein (14/1 into 5/2). He was odds-on five weeks later at the Vaal, again over 1000m, winning hands-and-heels. His third and final start was in the 1300m race won by Gimmethegreenlight, where he ran decidedly green and below his previous winning rating. He’s no doubt better than rated and with his low draw deserves serious attention. The second-best Mogok could be Guantanamera, who was beaten less than a length in second to Tennessee Strategy over 1300m at this track last time, with Hard Rock (gave 2kg) just behind him.

Terrible Gulchi

About The Pace
With a full field of sixteen, the pace will be on from the start and the draw will count. Gimmithe-greenlight may have the extra ability to help overcome his draw, but easy it’s not going to be. Terrible Gulch would be our dark horse, with Hard Rock and Sidestep. Tennessee Strategy can’t be ignored with his high rating, but his draw could kill.

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