Image: Steve Hart
Two key juvenile races have produced nail-biting finishes with Learning To Fly and Cylinder victorious
Learning To Fly has retained her position at the top of Golden Slipper markets with a hard-fought Reisling Stakes win, but Godolphin colt Cylinder has been the big mover after toppling the previously unbeaten Red Resistance at Randwick.
Cylinder firmed from $9 into $4.50 second favourite with Unibet for the world’s richest juvenile race following a thrilling renewal of the Todman Stakes (1200m) in which he waged a two-horse war with Red Resistance for most of the straight.
Cylinder ($2.90) had already shown his toughness to finish third in the Merson Cooper Stakes with a broken jaw and that quality was again to the fore as he wore down Red Resistance ($2.10 Betr fav) to score by three-quarters of a length with third placegetter Militarize ($26) another 2-3/4 lengths in arrears.
James Cummings says Cylinder has enjoyed an ideal build-up to the $5 million March 18 race having now won the Silver Slipper and Todman Stakes at his past two starts, formlines the Godolphin trainer believes will stack up when the youngster hits his grand final in a fortnight.
“Cylinder is going to take the ‘A1’ form going into the 2023 Golden Slipper with the Silver Slipper and Todman (Stakes) under his belt,” Cummings said.
“We won this race a couple of years ago with Anamoe. It’s a good horse’s race and I was very confident with Bivouac one year too and he just didn’t quite have things go his way.
“He’s a very classy colt who is going to give himself every opportunity in the hardest test of all in two weeks.”
Fourteen of the past 20 Golden Slipper winners have run at the corresponding meeting, a statistic Annabel Neasham will take heart from with Learning To Fly.
The filly assumed an uncustomary leadership role in Saturday’s four-horse Reisling Stakes (1200m) field and showed great determination to fend off the bold bid of Facile by a half-head in another enthralling two-horse battle.
“It wasn’t an easy watch by any means,” Neasham said.
“I know how tough Facile is, she’s so fit that filly. But it’s another string to her (Learning To Fly’s) bow, she has led a race now.
“I’m not sure it’s where she’s comfortable being but she’s got that job done and hopefully now we just have a smooth passage into the Slipper in two weeks’ time.”
Facile’s trainer Gerald Ryan is unsure if she has enough prizemoney to make the Golden Slipper field and says the filly is more likely to be spelled, or possibly head to the Percy Sykes Stakes.
Adrian Bott believes a five-week break between runs told on Red Resistance and expects him to take significant improvement into the Slipper, for which he is a $7 chance.
*Existing customers only. 2nd Racing bet. Excl SA & WA. T’s & C’s apply. Gamble responsibly.