The bubble around one-time Golden Slipper favourite Cellsabeel has burst while track bias at Caulfield has put a question mark over the Blue Diamond Stakes form.
Just three weeks out from the $3.5 million Slipper, trainer Peter Snowden is not unduly surprised by the ebb and flow of candidates for the world’s richest two-year-old race.
While he has Dame Giselle safely in the field, he will give up to five stablemates the chance to book their spots at Randwick on Saturday.
Snowden and his son, training partner Paul, will start Aim and debutant Argenteus in the Skyline Stakes (1200m) while Stellar Pauline, Tilia Rose and possibly Close To Me clash in the Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m).
Peter Snowden says it is a delicate balancing act qualifying youngsters for the Golden Slipper while still keeping something in hand.
“Everyone is trying to get them to a grand final on the day and two-year-olds are just so very hard to keep up for a length of time so it’s all about timing,” Snowden said.
“If they win on Saturday they’re in the race, if they don’t win they will need to be running well to think they’re a live chance in a race like the Slipper.”
Stellar Pauline has finished runner-up in all her three starts, most recently to Away Game in the Magic Millions at the Gold Coast.
Snowden has been rapt with her build-up to Saturday and has no doubt she can give the Golden Slipper a shake, if she can get there.
“She is going to be a really good three-year-old but I definitely think she is a chance if she can get in the Slipper,” he said.
“She is going great. Her work has been first class since she’s come back from the Gold Coast.”
Tilia Rose won her only start in the Max Lees Classic and gets the chance to press her Slipper claims, while the stable is weighing up whether to run Close To me at Randwick or under lights at Canterbury on Friday.
Aim returns from a luckless run in the Magic Millions when he drew inside and found himself on the wrong part of the track.
A brilliant winner of his previous two starts, the colt is showing the stable signs that he can bounce back into Slipper contention.
“His work suggests to us he is back to where he was before he went up to the Gold Coast,” Snowden said.
Argenteus, a $900,000 yearling, makes his debut in the Skyline with a lack of race experience his biggest challenge.
“He is having his first start against horses who have raced before which is never easy, so he will want to be good to be beating them,” Snowden said.
“But in saying that I have been impressed with his trials, they have been great and his work has been solid.”