Godolphin’s G1 Golden Slipper lead-up plans have taken a new turn with the decision to switch Trekking’s lead-up to the $3.5m race from Randwick to Canberra this weekend.
Trainer John O’Shea made the call after persistent rain in Sydney made a certainty of a heavy track for the G2 Todman Stakes at Randwick.
Trekking will now run in Sunday’s G3 Black Opal Stakes in Canberra in his bid to ensure a start in next month’s Slipper.
A favourable draw in barrier two for the Canberra race influenced O’Shea’s decision in what he said was a “tricky” situation.
“It is a case of needing to get it right, and in the case of Trekking, the barrier helped make the decision for us,” O’Shea said.
Trekking had drawn barrier 12 in the Todman and two in the Black Opal.
The move means Godolphin colt Veranillo, who is already assured of Golden Slipper start, will be the stable’s sole representative in the Todman, assuming the meeting goes ahead.
The presence of Trekking and a number of other high-class two-yearolds at Canberra has made this renewal of the Black Opal one of the classiest on record.
Horses such as the unbeaten Jukebox, a late withdrawal when among the favourites for last week’s Blue Diamond Stakes, the Golden Slipper second favourite Houtzen, Khan, Menari and Muraaqeb are all Black Opal acceptors with trainers reluctant to risk their youngsters on the heavy Randwick track.
Trekking (Brenton Avdulla) won at Rosehill in December at his only start, and has continued to impress O’Shea.
“He’s one of our better colts, if not the best,” the trainer said.
O’Shea will also run Marsupial (Kerrin McEvoy) in the Black Opal with Godolphin to also be represented by Bryneich (Brenton Avdulla) and Eusebio (Tommy Berry) in the Listed Canberra Guineas and Handfast (Brenton Avdulla) in the Listed National Sprint.