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Don’t forget Tassort: Godolphin’s strong hand in fascinating Golden Slipper

J A McGrath

In the euphoria surrounding Exhilarates’ stunning win for Godolphin in the Magic Millions Two-Year-Old Classic on Queensland’s Gold Coast, some may have forgotten that another juvenile trained by James Cummings ranks even higher in G1 Golden Slipper discussions.

For a few fleeting moments, the name Tassort was pushed to one side, but Vin Cox, Godolphin’s managing director in Australia, reminded all that the Brazen Beau half-brother to Astern and Alizee is considered the stable’s number one two-year-old.

Cox acknowledged in a network radio interview that Exhilarates had made extraordinary progress in a very short time to land Saturday’s big prize, but he described Tassort’s win on his only start at Rosehill in November as “super impressive.”

“All of us at Godolphin think Tassort is the one,” he added. 

Bearing that in mind, the colt’s reappearance in the G2 Silver Slipper Stakes at Rosehill on Saturday, 23 February, is going to be a major talking point.

Australia’s two-year-old program caters so comprehensively for precocious types, it is no surprise buyers keep bidding up in their quest for a slice of the huge prize money on offer. And in most cases, if there is to be a return on money spent, it will be a quick return.

Exhilarates is a perfect example. When she went through the ring at the 2018 Magic Millions Sale, she was knocked down to Godolphin for A$600,000.

As she is by outstanding sire Snitzel (a son of the Danehill stallion Redoute’s Choice) out of the exceptional Samaready (by More Than Ready), the winner of the G1 Blue Diamond, many thought at the time she was a bargain at that price.

She certainly looks a bargain now, as she has made improvement at every start. She finished last in a Rosehill Handicap first up, then placed at provincial courses Gosford and Wyong before breaking her duck at the Gold Coast just a week before her triumph in the Classic on her fifth outing.

Cummings plans a short break for Exhilarates before aiming her at the Golden Slipper, though connections agree that the filly will tell them by her work whether the G1 race remains the major objective.

The feeling that lightning might strike twice is obviously prevalent in Godolphin ranks, for on Saturday night the team paid A$1m for a Medaglia d’Oro filly out of Miracles Of Life, who like Samaready, won the Blue Diamond as a two-year-old.

The 63rd renewal of the G1 Golden Slipper, first run in 1957 when won by the brilliant colt Todman, is scheduled for Saturday, 23 March at Rosehill Gardens, Sydney.