As we march to the 2018 Golden Slipper, there is no doubt that it will be an incredible battle between Written Tycoon’s tough and talented colt, Written By and Zoustar’s exceptional and dominate filly, Sunlight.
With the two horses heading the betting, fueling the excitement and creating a flurry in the media, Woodside Park Stud, and the Victorian breeding industry have already won.
“It’s an incredible coup for Woodside Park Stud. To go one-two on the Slipper betting, sired by two different Woodside Park Stud stallions, is an astonishing feat that the whole team is incredibly excited about,” said Woodside’s Owner and CEO, Mark Rowsthorn.
“Written Tycoon is firmly entrenched at Woodside Park Stud, and he will remain here for the rest of his career. He will no doubt continue to sire many more top-class performers for the Victorian breeding industry for years to come. By having the chance to shoot for his second Slipper victor in three years, he puts himself up there in illustrious and elite company,” Rowsthorn said.
Woodside’s General Manager Commercial, James Price commented, “deciding who to cheer for is a brilliant conundrum to have as it’s a win-win situation if either takes the Slipper. They have both drawn great barriers and are in perfect order by all accounts, so I don’t think anyone will be taking sides.”
“If they can run one-two, it would be the ultimate result for the stallions, the stud and the Victorian racing and breeding industry,” Price said.
Sunlight has been the centre of attention after her Magic Million victory and she handled her recent dominate display in the Magic Night Stakes with ease.
With the seven-day back up already proven, her trainer Tony McEvoy believes the same strategy will deliver the desired result come Saturday.
“She’s a filly that gets very stimulated when you gallop her. She gets on a high from it, she’s eaten everything, she’s bright as a button,” McEvoy said.
“Sometimes you’ve got to protect a filly, not her. She’s eats like a colt and gets trained like a colt. One thing we’ve come to learn with this filly is that she’s tough.”
Sunlight remains on the top line of betting, drawing the perfect barrier in five for the Slipper and McEvoy, has an air of confidence.
“With Written By and Sizzling Belle drawn in there… they’ll have speed, we’ll have speed. Luke’s (Currie) job has been made a little bit easier by the draw. She is a genuine favourite.”
While Graham Begg’s homebred Written By maintained his unbeaten record with a tenacious display in the Group Three Pago Pago Stakes over the Slipper course and distance, in a time half a second faster than Sunlight.
“He had a little blow and a good look at Rosehill. He has the right barrier in number four, and it pays to remember my horses always improve with a run,” Begg said.
“Written By doesn’t have to lead to win. He’s got good gate speed; he can roll up close, and absorb a bit of pressure. It’s a Golden Slipper, so it’s going to be a high-pressure race.”
“He is all quality this little bloke,” Begg enthused. “He never knows when to sit down. “He can really tough it out. He is absolutely untapped.”
Champion sire, Written Tycoon, who produced the 2016 winner in Capitalist would be the first stallion to have two Slipper winners in the last ten years.
And while the focus may be fixed on the big race, the team at Woodside Park Stud are preparing an elite draft of four yearlings for the Inglis Easter Sale. Getting underway on 9 April, the group are headlined by a Written Tycoon filly, catalogued as Lot 53 and a Zoustar colt at Lot 364.
“It is wonderful for the farm to have strong representation at the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest sale and we are delighted to be offering stock from our stallions that are presently hitting the high notes,” Price said.
Lot 53 is the Written Tycoon filly out of the Redoute’s Choice mare Brambling. A beautifully related filly, her dam is the full sister to Maules Creek, a three-quarter sister to Tangled, and a half sister to Sebrose.
“She is a filly by the sire of the moment, from a good young daughter of Champion three-year-old NZ stayer and filly of the year, Bramble Rose. She has been doing a brilliant job at stud with three stakes winners, and it is an impressive pedigree to either race or breed,” Price said.
“Typical of Written Tycoon, this intelligent filly has strength, size and power in spades, and will attract the astute buyers.”
A wonderful international pedigree, Lot 364 is the Zoustar Colt out of the French Kendargent mare, Snow Bell. A talented Group level galloper and four-time winner, she is a listed winner at Longchamp.
Snow Bell’s second foal by Zoustar called Star Fall impressed the track watches after finishing his recent trial strongly at Cranbourne. The colt should be a key prospect for the Aaron Purcell /Ciaron Maher stable going forward, and is being set for his debut start. The stable is looking at the lucrative $250,000 VOBIS Gold Rush for two-year-olds at Bendigo on April 7 as a possible target.
“We are extremely excited for the breeding season ahead with our draft of champion sires led by the infamous Written Tycoon, youngsters Rich Enuff and Cable Bay and impressive new comer Tosen Stardom,” Price said.