Peter Snowden has the enviable job early next week to decide how many runners his stable will have in Saturday’s Group 1 Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) after Sidestep finally put his stride together to win the $175,000, Group 2 Bowerman’s Office Furniture Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
Sidestep and Kerrin McEvoy, picture Sportpix.com.au
Last week Sidestep did just that when coming out of the barriers in the Group 2 Todman Stakes dumping jockey Corey Brown on the turf, fortunately without injury to either rider or horse.
On Saturday Darley’s number one rider Kerrin McEvoy was back on Sidestep and they were away without incident settling in fourth while Dothraki and Glyn Schofield took the field through the early sectionals.
Good Job Bro and Hugh Bowman followed with Diamond Oasis and James McDonald tracking, while McEvoy had Sidestep one off the rails in clear running.
Schofield sent Dothraki up another gear off the turn and with 300m to run they were 2 1/2L ahead, and some 5L ahead of Sidestep.
McEvoy gradually worked Sidestep into the race and they had a considerable gap to close down on the leader. Sidestep then showed a serious turn of foot and Dothraki’s lead not only quickly disappeared, but with 75m to run Sidestep was past and running away straight to the line.
The winning margin was 1 1/4L to Dothraki (Mossman) with Fuerza (Snippetson) and Brenton Avdulla third and further 2 1/4L away. Diamond Oasis was fourth and One Step Beyond fifth.
The time was 1.10.49 on the Good 3 track, quicker than the 1.11.18 that the fillies ran in the Group 2 Magic Night Stakes won by Scandiva earlier in the programme. The final 600m was covered in 34.71. Sidestep paid $2.00 as favourite on NSW TAB.
Sidestep, picture Sportpix.com.au
“We’ve got to think about it. It sounds like the obvious choice to go to the Slipper next week but we’ve got to think about the longevity of the horse as well and see how he pulls up,” said Snowden.
“I want to have a good think about the horse. Darley are very good. They always put the horse first and they will probably leave the call to me.
“We will have a good talk about it on Monday and Tuesday and hopefully make the right decision as to what we do.
“Definitely Kuroshio and Guelph, they will definitely be there. This bloke we will just see what happens over the weekend.
“It is a tough race, they are all is saying it is not a good Slipper but you try and win one.
“It was not our desire to run this week. He is still immature, he is still new, and he still does things wrong which is a bit of a concern.
“I still think he wants headgear on him to make him concentrate because today he thought he was in another race.
“It was only the last 150m he knuckled down.
“He has dead-set got good true ability.”
“He is a tough horse, that is one thing I will say about him. This week has been very easy for him, not that last week was hard but he has come through last week really well and his work on Tuesday was exceptional. He is a talented horse.
“He has always had ability but he has always looked immature. You compare him to Skilled and Ambidexter and he is half their size. In my mind he was always going to be a better three-year-old.
“Once we started to work him along, the more work he did, the better he got. That is what two-year-olds are, they put their hand up and tell you which ones are ready and which ones aren’t and he just keeps stepping up,” he said.
“It was good to see him do that, obviously the Black Opal form is strong,” said McEvoy.
“Blinkers off he just did not travel as well as we thought he would and he just idled a little bit at certain stages throughout the race and even into the last two furlongs (200m). That is a good sign and obviously he has got class and he done that under three-quarter throttle.
“We will talk about if he needs head gear back on and if he lines up next week,” he said
Sidestep is another two-year-old winner by Exceed And Excel this season, and being out of the Quest For Fame mare Dextrous he is a half-brother to the fine gallopers Skilled and Ambidexter.
The win was his first from four starts, including the Todman Stakes, after he had placed in the two previous starts including running second to Criterion (NZ) in the listed Black Opal Stakes at Canberra on March 10th. The colt has earned stakes of $165,800.
Kerrin McEvoy, picture Sportpix.com.au
Photofinish picture ATC