Everything heading in the right direction for Begg
UNBEATEN Melbourne colt Written By won't have an issue galloping in the clockwise direction when he makes his Sydney debut in the Group 3 $175,000 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Trainer Grahame Begg revealed his boom youngster has the experience and race sense to keep his perfect race record intact.
"At our farm (Pinecliff, Mornington Peninsula) he often gallops the Sydney way,'' Begg said. "He has been used to working the Sydney way from day one.
"When he has a fast gallop he switches over to the right leg straight away. For a colt, he is big enough, he has length about him and he has a great stride.''
Written By is unbeaten in three starts including his brilliant Blue Diamond Stakes win and TAB Fixed Odds price assessors are taking no chance with the chestnut flying machine installing him as $2 favourite.
The Rosehill meeting also features outstanding filly Sunlight, the $1.50 favourite to win the Group 3 $175,000 Magic Night Stakes (1200m).
The Pago Pago Stakes and Magic Night Stakes have not been reliable Golden Slipper guides in recent years but Saturday's races will have a major impact on betting for the $3.5 million Golden Slipper next week as Sunlight is currently the $4 favourite ahead of Written By, Performer and Estijaab all at $7. Recent Slipper history reveals:
THERE has been only two Golden Slipper winners to emerge from the Pago Pago Stakes or Magic Night Stakes in the last 25 years - Caraway Gal (2002) and Stratum (2005).
STRATUM, Rory's Jester (1985) and Inspired (1984) have completed the Pago Pago-Golden Slipper double.
WRITTEN By is trying to add his name to an elite list of Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper winners - Sepoy (2011), Courtza (1989), Bounding Away (1986), Manikato (1978) and John's Hope (1972).
BINT Marscay (1993), Bounding Away (1986), Dark Eclipse (1980), Century Miss (1979) and Toy Show (1975) won the Magic Night-Golden Slipper double.
Begg will be interested to watch Sunlight aim for her fifth successive win in the Magic Night Stakes, run 40 minutes before the Pago Pago Stakes.
"Sunlight is certainly the benchmark,'' Begg said. "She won the Magic Millions easily then backed up and won the Silver Slipper. She has improvement to come and looks the one at the moment.
"The (Team) Hawkes filly, Estijaab is fast and very talented, too.''
But Begg is relaxed about Written By's preparation going into Saturday's race despite having to change his plans when a scheduled barrier trial at the Kensington track was abandoned last Tuesday due to wet weather.
"All is well with this colt,'' Begg said. "He has done everything we have asked him, he has never taken a backwards step put it that day.
"He has drawn the outside gate every time he has raced and it hasn't worried him but (tomorrow) he's got a 'soft' barrier which helps.''
Written By is being asked to back-up quickly into the Golden Slipper a week after Saturday's race but Begg believes the extra race rather than a barrier trial will work in his colt's favour.
"By having this run (Saturday) it will make him tougher for the Slipper,'' Begg said.
"The great unknown is the back-up, he has never been asked to do that before.
"But he did trial the Monday prior to winning the Blue Diamond Prelude and he backed up on the Saturday and won well so hopefully it is no issue.''
There is rain forecast in the second half of next week so even the likelihood of a rain-affected track for the Golden Slipper meeting doesn't faze Begg as Written By did win on a heavy track on debut at Sandown back in November.
"We had no idea if he would handle the track that day but good horses overcome all that adversity,'' Begg said.
"From the get-go we have liked this colt very much. He did have some barrier issues, he was reluctant to go into the gates earlier in the season, but he has been good his last two starts.
"He is a natural two-year-old, he had a strong gallop at Randwick on Tuesday morning and we expect him to be running well.''