Two Sydney based pro punters join us on the podcast this week to preview this year’s Golden Slipper.

Nathan Snow and Dean the Trial Spy run through their speed maps, early form analysis and recommended betting strategy for the big race.

Punting Insights:

  • The profile of recent Golden Slipper winners
  • Does Vancouver deserve to be the warm favourite?
  • What needs to go right for Exosphere to win?
  • Who are the best roughies in the race?

Today’s Guest:
Dean the Trial Spy and Nathan Snow

David: Hi everyone I’ve got Dean on the line as I wanted to run through a bit about the history of the Slipper, this year’s speed map and also some value bets, potentially. Firstly, the barrier draw as you’ve done some analysis on that?

Dean: Yeah. There’s been 58 of the Slipper and the most prolific winning barrier is Barrier 1 with 9 wins. If you put them into groups of four, Barriers 1 to 4 have won 22, 5 to 8 have won 16, 9 to 12 have won 14 and 13 to 16 have won ix. Obviously, the key point there, I guess, is Vancouver who looks like he’s going to come into the 15 after scratching. You know, only two horses had won from Barrier 15 or 16 in fifty-eight runnings. So, you know, he’s got history against him there.

David: And what about in recent times, not just the barrier draw, but you’ve done some work on where the winners have come from in the run?

Dean: In ’04, Dance Hero from gate two led all the way on the rail. In ’05 Stratum from gate six led all the way on the rail. In ’06, Miss Finland from gate seven was at the back, well back and hugged the rail. In ’07, Forensics went from gate one, won that course on the rail. In ’08, Sebring from gate five settled well back and hugged the rail. In ’09, Phelan Ready from gate fifteen, uh dropped right back to last but hugged the rail. In 2010, Crystal Lily from gate one was good on the rail. In ’11, Sepoy from gate eight was 3rd on the rail. In 2012, Pierro from gate one hugged the rail. In 2013, Overreach from gate eleven was third on the rail, and in 2014, Mossfun missed the start and hugged the rail the whole way to win.

So you can see a pattern there of recent Slipper winners over the last ten or eleven years, that you want to be on the fence.

David: All right. So how do you think it’ll pan out this year? What does the speed map look like so far?

Dean: Well, I think Haptic leads from barrier three. It looks like Furnaces sort of tucks in and gets a lovely trail directly behind from gate one. Haybah has gate two, so that’ll probably get a nice run, but take a sit. You know, I think it comes down to the tactics with riders out wide, you know, there are three sort of key pace horses going out wide, from a speed perspective. Headwater, from gate eleven, Speak Fondly from gate twelve, and Vancouver from gate eighteen. It’s really going to have to come down to how they jump.

Headwater led in the Sliver Slipper, but then couldn’t cross him in the five-course race in the Todman and got caught pretty wide outside Furnaces and Vancouver, so whether he is going to be able to get across in the race, will be interesting. Speak Fondly led last start but can take a sit, so a lot of them might try and get across and see if he can slot in, and Vancouver can jump well but it’s also shown a propensity to miss the kick, so where he – and obviously from barrier eighteen, he’s going to go a long way to determine his fate.

But, you know, you’ve got the speed of Haptic and Furnaces, they’re still the ones guaranteed to get lovely ones, and then the question is would that speed come from out wide in there, and what pace.

David: So you talked about Vancouver there, and obviously he’s been a spruik horse for quite a while now, with the form that it’s in and the map that you’ve just spoken about there, would you want to be backing or laying it around the $3?

Dean: Vancouver was the best trialler out of the first set of two run trials on September 22. He won over 840m at Kensington and 49.12, which was the quickest of the ten trials of the day, and about four lengths above the average. Which is why we backed him to win the Breeders Plate and now he’s continued to develop winning at Canterbury and then the Todman but they’ve cottoned on to him in super quick time. But, at $3 at the moment that’s not really an appealing price, despite being the best horse in the race, just with where he’s going to go, and you know, there’s a lot that depends on whether he can jump as well as he can. If he can, he may could potentially get across outside the leader, and get a really nice run. If he misses the kick, then certainly when you look at the past history of Slipper winners he’s going to have do a good job from there.

David: And what about Exosphere? The price gap between those two is narrowed a bit after the barrier draw. At the current price, $4 or so, would you want to be on him or against him?

Dean: Exosphere hadn’t run time in the trials, but had trialled easily sort of under no pressure, so it looked good. But you know he’s proven he can run good times in his two wins. He walloped a horse called Mogador twice, so I believe that he’s actually developing into a very nice three-year-old, and Mogador ran second in Kembla to Exosphere and Takedown ran 3rd then won the Black Opal, so, obviously strong form there. And then he went on and repeated it with a very strong win in the Skyline, so … Both Vancouver and Exosphere are outstanding two-year-olds, but the query with those two horses is the map.

When you look at those last 11 runnings of the Slipper and the fact that every horse found the fence during the race, it’s either going to take an outstanding ride, or an incredible run to win. Both of which are absolutely possible because the horses and the jockeys have the ability, but I don’t think they’re going to get it easy, and you know, I’m looking for a strategy in the race. I think it might be a case of potentially backing some at value and maybe saving on those two favourites.

David: So you mentioned there might be some value outside of those two, you’ve got a couple of runners in mind?

Dean: Yeah, I was thinking in terms of value, the three runners I like it considering the odds are: Haptic at $17. He hasn’t been defeated in two trials and two races. He’s done nothing wrong to date, and should lead here. Won a Jan. 6th 900m trial in 53.2, which was the clear best of the day, and around 4.5l above the average, and you know, his two wins, he’s just really done nothing wrong in winning, especially last start which did look a strong form race beating Furnaces. Tto be honest, I think it’s very difficult to lead and win the Slipper, particularly with 35 days off. But that’s the query, I think that he’s a very talented and underrated horse.

English, at $17 is another who is undefeated in two trials and two races. She won at Randwick Jan. 15th, 740m in 43.72, which was the quickest of nine trials on the day, three lengths above the average, and then won Randwick Feb 23rd 734m meter trial in 43.32 too, which was the quickest of seven trials, and four lengths quicker than Vancouver. She won at Kembla, she won the Riesling impressively. She fits the profile of a horse that could be slow away, as she has been in her two races, could be slow away, find the rail and charge home off a hot pace like Miss Finland, Sebring, Phelan Ready and Mossfun.

And the last one was Lake Geneva, who is also $17 and it was the other standout at the first two-year-old trials of the season on September 22 alongside Vancouver. She ran 49.56 which was the third quickest of the ten trials, but was out very wide throughout the trial. Had no luck on debut when she was caught wide and just beaten, then ran an excellent third in the Blue Diamond at her second start. And the Hawkes team won the Slipper last year for us with Mossfun, and again Lake Geneva profiles like English, as a horse who would settle off the pace on the rail and just charge right along, even inside the school.

David: So just overall as a betting race, obviously, it’s a high profile race, and there’s a long lead up to it and plenty of publicity, but as an actual betting race is it one that really excites you this year?

Dean: It’s a tricky one, because the two obvious horses have the draws and questionable maps. But then you’ve got some talented horses there that are really good value and I think that Haptic, English and Lake Geneva, so I do think it’s a race we’ll be playing in with the value and then possibly throwing in some exotics, because you’ve got the likes of Vancouver and Exosphere who on ability are clearly going to be there. But I do think that there is definitely scope for it to be a good betting race, because the favourites are going to have to put in really substantial, superstar runs to win, in my opinion. And these horses do have the ability to beat them on the day.

David: Excellent Dean, I look forward to the big race and thanks for joining us today.

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David: Hi Nathan I just wanted to chat to you about the Golden Slipper, the race everyone’s talking about right now. I know it’s still relatively early in the week, so you haven’t done all the work that you will do on the race, but at this stage, how do you see the race panning out in terms of the speed map?

Nathan Snow: In terms of the speed, it’s quite interesting because there’s, you know both stables have a number of runners and they’ve already forecast that Haptic is going to want to lead. That to me indicates they’re going to want to a solidly run race to suit their top pick Exosphere. Vancouver’s the big query from gate 18. He’s got a decision to make and there’s three options there. He can jag straight back and ride for luck. He can try and slot in midfield in a spot three-wide with cover and hope there’s a three-wide line in front of you or you push the button and go and try and sit outside the league and if you’ve got to do a bit of work earl then so be it.
My gut says that they’ll go with option 3 there just because everything the stable says about the horse and those connected seems to be they just think it’s a superior animal and if they think that that’s the case then they’ll ride it like the good thing they think it is and just push a button and go. I see good pace here no matter what happens.

David: Yeah at times you’ve advised certain jockeys and help them with their race plans. Is that the way you’d go if you had the authority here, what would you actually recommend?

Nathan Snow: For them I’d say push the button and go yeah. I think riding for luck from there is dangerous. I think the 2 favourites, Vancouver and Exosphere, they look to have the class edge on the others. There does look to be a bit of dead wood in the race and so it’s probably not an ideal call to go back and ride for luck. I’d be pushing a button and going. Unfortunately they’ve been dealt the poor draw and they’ve just got to deal with it.

David: And what about Exosphere? You’ve been pretty keen on this one for a little while now.

Nathan Snow: Well it’s going to get things to suit now. It’s going to get a perfect trail, it’s going to have a genuinely run race. It just looks like it’s still got gears we haven’t seen yet. We’ve seen the best of Vancouver. Its figures are very good and it goes good, but it just seems there’s a bit of scope for Exosphere this year and its still got more to give. I do think they’re 2 very good 2 year-olds.

David: You’ve got the bookmaking background and then the punting experience for the last 5 years, what do you think of the prices available right now. Just in broad terms, if Vancouver’s around $3, and Exosphere’s not much better than $4 do you think that’s about right or do you think they should be even closer together?

Nathan Snow: I think they should be slightly closer together but I still think Vancouver, I haven’t priced the race up yet, but I couldn’t imagine I’d have Vancouver too much longer than $3. It just seems there’s a big gap to the rest of them.

David: So that gap to the rest of them…outside of those 2, are there any that you are keen on?

Nathan Snow: Look given the pace scenario there were 2 runners that sort of come from the same formline and they are Fireworks and Lake Geneva. But I do think they are a rung below the others. I do think that something has to happen to the other 2, for one of them not to win the race.
The horse that can improve provided they don’t use it as a pure bunny is Haptic. It seems like its got more to give in its races. I think it’s a horse with a bit talent, but the forecast saying they want to lead on that does raise a few eyebrows for me.

David: Okay this is a question I asked of Dean as well, it’s such a high profile race and everyone gets excited which is fair enough. From a betting perspective though, how enticing does this race look to you?

Nathan Snow: It doesn’t look a great betting race at this stage. Hopefully a few people are on Exosphere at bigger odds. Yeah it doesn’t look great at this stage. Like I said I haven’t done the race properly.

David: You gave us a good overview though, so thanks for joining us today, and all the best for Saturday.

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