Unbeaten filly has right Moves for Slipper

·3-min read

John Sargent trained the last horse to beat Winx but he insists winning a Golden Slipper will go beyond anything else he has achieved in more than four decades of racing.

Sargent has eyes for the greatest prize for two-year-olds in the thoroughbred world with Four Moves Ahead, an unbeaten and untapped filly.

Four Moves Ahead will be Sargent's first Golden Slipper runner and she is considered the best chance of beating the colts out of five fillies running in the $3.5 million race at Rosehill.

"As the last trainer to have a horse to beat Winx, I think that will be a trivia question for many years to come," the 63-year-old Randwick trainer said.

"But Golden Slipper-winning trainer sounds better to me."

There is nothing trivial about the task Four Moves Ahead faces because the Golden Slipper result can reverberate throughout a racing industry that continues to craft its bloodlines on unadulterated speed.

The race's reputation is at odds with Sargent's upbringing in New Zealand and his formative years in England where patience is a trainer's ally in a quest for success in the Classics - important races run over an extended distance.

He enjoyed some fine moments in New Zealand two-year-old racing but since moving to Australia in 2013 it has been the Classic horses who have mostly defined his stable's better days.

It was on that stage that the Sargent-trained Gust Of Wind defeated Winx in the 2015 ATC Australian Oaks.

The race turned out to be a watershed moment in Winx's career because she would never be beaten again, going on a streak of 33 wins, including 25 at the highest level.

Four Moves Ahead is the only Slipper runner with an unblemished record, both wins coming on rain-affected tracks.

Her affinity for soft ground will ensure she will go to the barriers as one of the best-backed runners on Saturday but Sargent is taking nothing for granted despite that support.

"We don't know how good she is. But she will have to be good tomorrow because every Slipper is hard to win," he said.

What Sargent lacks in experience in getting a horse to the Slipper, his jockey Nash Rawiller will more than more compensate.

Rawiller, who rode Pierro to win in 2012, is one of Australia's most accomplished riders and few can match him for strength when it counts.

By Sargent's reckoning, horse and jockey and will make a formidable pair if the race is on the line.

"She is the type of filly who puts her ears back in her work and if it gets down to a fight in the straight she will be right in amongst it," he said.

Most of the 400mm of rain that saturated Sydney in the past week, forcing the Golden Slipper meeting to be rescheduled, has drained quickly from the Rosehill track.

So much so, officials are confident the Slipper and four other Group One races on the undercard, will be run on a better-than-expected surface.