Golden Slipper dream on the line for Royal Witness

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February 21, 2018 - 08:21 AM

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John Sargent's hopes of qualifying his first runner for a Golden Slipper hinge on Royal Witness rebounding from a disappointing debut when he runs at Canterbury.

The Randwick trainer will send the colt out again on Wednesday in the Pluck@Vinery Handicap (1200m).

The $2.15 favourite on his home track a fortnight ago, Royal Witness gave away too much ground in a Maiden Plate (1000m) before finishing 2-1/4 lengths behind the Chris Waller-trained winner Zousain.

Although Tye Angland was reprimanded for allowing third-placed Hiemal to shift in on Royal Witness at the 50m mark, Sargent admitted his horse was already battling.

"It just didn't work out, the first start. He was run off his feet really and was never in his comfort zone," Sargent said.

He said Corey Brown would attempt to find a more forward position from a potentially tricky barrier seven of 11.

"He's got early speed so he should be out of the way and up there with them," Sargent said.

"This race will give us a good line. There will be no excuses."

Sargent said Royal Witness had pleased him since his debut and had worked impressively.

"He seems to have gone ahead in leaps and bounds. I'm very happy with the horse now, you wouldn't get him any fitter," he said.

Royal Witness blew out from $26 to $51 in the TAB's Golden Slipper odds after his debut fifth.

On race eve, he was on the fourth line of betting for Wednesday's event at $7.

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained filly Bold Arial is the $4 favourite to break her maiden at her third start after her encouraging fourth in the Group Three Widden Stakes earlier this month when she was held up for a run in the straight.