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Bring on the Slipper

While the Golden Slipper Stakes (Aus-I) might not mean much to the average North American Thoroughbred breeder, with its AUS$3.5 million purse-which is just on US$3 million today-it is in fact the world's richest race for 2-year-olds. Run at 1200m (about 6f) the Golden Slipper has a long storied history as a race that shapes the Australian breed with Australian-bred leading sires Flying Spur, Danzero, Canny Lad, Rory's Jester, Marscay, Luskin Star, Vain, and Todman-as well as one time Claiborne stallion Pago Pago-all successful in the juvenile sprint.

With much of the early 2-year-old racing being ravaged by Equine Influenza transport restrictions, it is hard to see a juvenile runner emerging from obscurity to Golden Slipper glory in the next 10 weeks. This weekend, however, leading Australian trainer Gai Waterhouse unearthed a potential 2-year-old star in the shape of the strong debut winner Sebring (AUS), who, after success under very heavy track conditions, now heads towards the Golden Slipper as a leading chance.

Sebring is a son of the internationally successful sire More Than Ready (TrueNicks, SRO). A son of Southern Halo, More Than Ready started his career in Australia in stellar fashion with his first Australian-bred crop providing the group I winners Perfectly Ready (AUS) and Benicio (AUS) among a total of 9 stakes winners from that crop. His two subsequent Australian crops, probably not out of mares the quality of those found in his first crop, produced just two additional stakes winners (in contrast to the 16 stakes winners in the same North American crops). His current Australian-bred 2-year-old crop-including many bred on the back of the initial success of his first crop-is one of considerable size and quality, and bodes well for future successes.

The international database that TrueNicks operates on allows us to rate horses from around the world and it is no surprise to see that Sebring is an A+ rated horse based on the highly successful More Than Ready/Danehill cross. Indeed, More Than Ready has already sired stakes winners in Australia out of mares by by Danzig (Deloraine (AUS)), his son Danehill (Benicio and Perfectly Ready), and his grandson Flying Spur (AUS) (Hot ‘N' Ready (AUS)). With Sebring out of a mare by Flying Spur, it certainly fits the pattern of what More Than Ready has operated well with in Australia. With a broodmare population that is laden with Danzig blood, should Sebring prove successful at stakes company, his sire should find himself quite comfortable in Australia with a broodmare population genetically made to fit.

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