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New Zealand’s Estrato to aim at Golden Slipper

January 27, 2011

New Zealand may still be represented in the $3.5m Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) despite the loss of arguably their best hope in some time.

At the moment, there are currently six New Zealand trained horses among Slipper nominations, although that figure will change with second acceptances taken next Tuesday.

It was thought that Matamata trainer Peter McKay had an ideal Golden Slipper horse in Alvesta.

Alvesta won the season’s first two year old race at Wanganui by six lengths against good opposition – second placegetter Antonio Lombardo, also trained by McKay, would go on to dominantly win the Listed Wellesley Stakes (1000m) at Trentham.

The General Nediym colt was entered for the Listed Breeders Plate (1000m) at Randwick in October, but was scratched on the morning of the race with a minor injury.

While Alvesta entered work in late November with a Golden Slipper campaign in mind, McKay has confirmed to Just Horse Racing that he will not be a second acceptor next week.

“Unfortunately, Alvesta has gone back out to spell,” McKay said.

However, all is not lost for McKay as stablemate Estrato looks to earn a Slipper berth.

The Stratum colt is a winner of two of his five starts, including a win in the Listed Wentwood Grange Stakes (1100m) at Te Rapa.

“We recently gave him a week out with the Golden Slipper in mind,” McKay said.

“He’s back in work now, he’ll go to a Group 3 race and then run in the Group 1 Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Ellerslie.”

“We’ll decide about Sydney after that.”

The Diamond Stakes is New Zealand’s premier race for juveniles at 1200m and will be run on March 12.

Renowned Kiwi trainer John Sargent has three nominations for the Golden Slipper, all still unraced.

Cathay Lady, a daughter of Exceed and Excel, has had three trials, the latest on January 6, while Starcraft filly Whistle on a Star had her first trial last week.

Sargent’s other entry, a full brother to the Group 1 placed Delzao, is yet to be named.

Group 1 winning trainer Jeff McVean has the sixth Kiwi entrant in Perfect Trip, a Perfectly Ready colt.

Indications were that he was to make his debut in the coming weeks.

The last New Zealand-trained Golden Slipper runner was Dr Green, who finished 14th behind Stratum in 2005.

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