A start in the G1 Golden Slipper is assured for Veranillo after the colt ran up to his best form to take second place in the G2 Silver Slipper Stakes behind She Will Reign at Rosehill on Saturday.
With his racetrack earnings now high enough to get Veranillo into the field for the world’s richest two-year-old race, trainer John O’Shea will play a new card he is hoping will help bridge the gap on the leading Slipper prospects.
O’Shea said he would add blinkers to the colt’s race-day gear in an effort to get him focussed.
“He probably just needs to execute a bit better in his races and we’re hoping he will be better with some head gear on,” O’Shea said.
Veranillo flew from the gates and jockey Brenton Avdulla had him immediately outside the leader and travelling within himself, while the star filly She Will Reign settled at the tail of the seven-horse field after missing the start.
“I expected to see She Will Reign up ahead of me so I wasn’t unhappy when she wasn’t,” Avdulla said.
Veranillo answered Avdulla’s call soon after straightening, taking the lead until She Will Reign joined in and then opened a two-length break before being eased over the final 50m to score by a length-and-a-half.
Veranillo had won his previous two starts in convincing style, but O’Shea had been slightly concerned that he hadn’t shown the speed to put himself among the top-level youngsters.
But the son of Medaglia d’Oro put those concerns to rest today, racing near the front in the highest standard two-year-old race of the season so far and then holding his own in the final stages.
“I’d been keen for him to show me he could run time,” he said.
“He’s done that now and he’s now won enough money to get into the Slipper. He’ll probably have one more run in the Todman Stakes in two weeks.”
The A$3-million Golden Slipper is run over 1200m at Rosehill on March 18.
At Flemington on Saturday the Helmet colt, Malaise maintained his consistent from with second place in the G3 CS Hayes Stakes behind Hey Doc.