Ladies Day may have officially been 2 weeks ago, but Saturday’s Longines Golden Slipper Stakes Day at Rosehill Gardens was once again all about the girls. Fillies won half of the 10 race program, celebrities and fashionistas mingled with racing royalty and after 16 days straight of rain, umbrellas became a mandatory accessory.
*Jockey Ben Melham kisses She Will Reign after winning the 2017 Golden Slipper Stakes. Photo: Rosehill Gardens
Despite the wet and testing conditions, champion racehorse Winx notched up her 16th consecutive race win with an unbelievable performance. She again annihilated her competitors at a pace that just looks like a leisurely jog. If you haven’t seen it, watch the replay HERE.
Just over an hour later, another girl stole the spotlight when the Gary Portelli trained She Will Reign won the $3.5 million Longines Golden Slipper Stakes. As the cheapest bought horse in the race (a $20,000 purchase) this filly has already netted her owners a nice little fortune in her short career.
My father’s stable had three runners in the race and whilst Menari was relegated to fourth after a protest, they all managed to tough out the boggy track to finish in the top nine. Despite not winning ourselves, the jubilation of winning owners is always infectious and the chant of ‘She Will Reign’ filling the mounting yard during the trophy presentation was a reminder of the amazing ride horse ownership can take you on.
The action wasn’t just trackside. The Fashion Chute was a huge draw card for the fashion forward women (and men) on track. A modern take on the traditional Fashions on Field competitions, entrants are photographed then later judged and called back for final presentations. Thankfully the night club outfits all got left at home and lace, bold colours and understated elegance was the order of the day.
With Rosehill Gardens having been my home track for 10 years I might be a little biased, but Golden Slipper Day has always been my favourite day on the racing calendar. It's a perfect mix of great Group 1 racing, fashion and frivolity in a slightly more relaxed environment.
Whilst I doubt it will ever compare to a Melbourne Spring Carnival, the Australian Turf Club’s Autumn Carnival definitely holds its own and is one to experience. It continues at Rosehill this weekend with Legends Day before heading to Royal Randwick for The Championships. If you're heading out, let me know - I might just see you trackside!
*From left: The Fashion Chute.
*Me with my sister-in-law Jessica Ryan & Erin Angland.
*Actor and Golden Slipper Ambassador Elizabeth Debicki in a Georgio Armani pants suit.
*Muddy toes... the result of my testing out the track conditions for myself.