Facile set for Golden Slipper 2023

She’s the only maiden galloper in the field but the Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou-trained Facile isn’t just there to make up the numbers in the $4.92 million Golden Slipper to be run at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday.

The Trapeze Artist filly has gone close to shedding the maiden tag on three separate occasions running close-up seconds in the Inglis Nursery, Group 2 Sweet Embrace and Group 2 Reisling, with a fifth in the Millennium sandwiched in between when forced to race on the worst part of track.

She scraped into the Golden Slipper field on Tuesday morning before not being blessed by the barrier gods, drawing 14 in a maximum field of 16 starters. Speedy types such as Red Resistance and Steel City have drawn to the outside of her and co-trainer Alexiou sees a silver lining.

“Barrier 14 is obviously not ideal, but we’ve got a couple of go-forward horses drawn outside us which will help because we’ll be able to come across with the speed,” Alexiou said.

“She’s pretty adaptable, she’s got good speed when you want to use it. If the jockey has to come back and ride a bit of a race on her well she’s happy to drop her head and relax in behind them.”

One of those narrow runner-up finishes came behind race second-favourite Learning To Fly ($6) in the Reisling ten days ago, while Facile currently sits much wider in the market at $34.

“She’s got good form that ties in with Learning To Fly. How big the discrepancy in prices should be, well I’ll leave that to the market makers and punters,” Alexiou said.

“She’s still learning and her best is still ahead of her, but she’s going into the race in quite good form and we see no reason why she shouldn’t take her place on Saturday.

“She’s going to make some sort of filly in the spring.”

With no less than five Group 1 contests taking place this weekend, the Ryan/Alexiou camp will also aim up their Snitzel colt Williamsburg at the $600,000 Rosehill Guineas over 2000m. The three-year-old has been thereabouts in all three runs this time in culminating with a closing fifth in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas behind Communist at the latest appearance.

“He goes into that in pretty good form, he sort of bounced off that run the other day quite well and his hitout with a mate this morning was tip top,” Alexiou said.

“Should he draw a good barrier and there is a bit of speed on, I’d imagine he runs a very good race.”

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