THIS is the most audacious Golden Slipper grab of them all — but there is nothing conventional about the Yankee Rose story.
The unbeaten filly was sold for just $10,000, making her the “cheapest” horse in the world’s richest juvenile race.
Her trainer, David Vandyke, who is about to leave Sydney for the Sunshine Coast in a midlife sea change, has a family history of two-year-old success but this is his first runner in the $3.5 million Golden Slipper.
Vandyke is dismissing 60 years of Slipper tradition by sending Yankee Rose into the Rosehill 1200m scamper without a lead-up run for more than three months. The longest break between starts for a Slipper winner is the seven weeks Sebring had prior to his 2008 triumph.
And most of Yankee Rose’s owners are first-timers to racing who feel they have already struck the jackpot by having a Golden Slipper runner.
The filly’s ownership group was put together by well-known thoroughbred syndicator Scott Darby and is made up of a miner, hairdresser, scaffolder, paramedic, accountant, cattle station manager, construction worker, nurse, painter and tanker driver who reside in places as far afield as remote country Western Australia, Mackay in north Queensland and Launceston in Tasmania.
“I have no doubt in the world she is fit enough for the Slipper,’’ Vandyke said matter-of-factly.
“I don’t hold any issues with her being first-up. This has been the plan all along.’’
Vandyke also takes encouragement from Yankee Rose’s spring form where she won both her races at Rosehill defeating the likes of Golden Slipper rivals Good Standing and Telperion.
“The form has held up,’’ the trainer added. “We know the filly is versatile, she can make ground along the fence or out wide and the 1200m will suit her.
“I think she will be getting to the line hard. I will be disappointed if she doesn’t pass many of her rivals in the straight.’’
Vandyke was further buoyed by the keenness of champion Hong Kong-based jockey Zac Purton to return to Sydney and ride Yankee Rose in the Golden Slipper.
“Zac rang up asking for the ride on the filly so I was very happy to lock him in,’’ he added.
Yankee Rose hasn’t raced since her Golden Gift win on November 21 when she ran down Good Standing to score a narrow win.
But Vandyke has given the filly two solid barrier trials in recent weeks including her most recent effort when a close second to Angharad at Randwick on March 4.
“I thought her most last trial was OK,’’ Vandyke admitted. “She hasn’t done anything to overly impress me this preparation.
“But In saying that, we know she saves her best for game day. If you look at her most recent win, she wasn’t going to get there until we put a few around her backside.’’
There is a sense of destiny about Vandyke’s Golden Slipper bid as his father, the late Vic Hayes, an owner-breeder and part-time trainer renowned for his success with two-year-olds.
Hayes won four Breeders Plate with his best juvenile the speedy Karioi Star, who finished just behind the placegetters in the 1982 Golden Slipper won by Marscay.
“When I was growing up, I was brought up in an environment where the Golden Slipper was everything — it was the holy grail to my father,’’ Vandyke said.
“From the time I was little, the Slipper was his focus. For me to have my first Golden Slipper runner is very exciting.’’
Vandyke is having a tremendous season including one of his biggest wins as a trainer when Sir John Hawkwood won the Group 3 Sky High Stakes at Rosehill last week — and significantly the stayer was first-up after a 10-week break.
The Warwick Farm-based trainer has a good team entered for Golden Slipper Day with stayer Maurus in the Group 3 $150,000 Manion Cup (2400m), Look To The Stars a dual entry for the Listed $125,000 The Sebring (1200m) and the Group 3 $150,000 Birthday Card Stakes (1200m), and the in-form Bull Point runs in the Group 3 $135,000 Newmarket Handicap (1350m).
“Maurus is coming up ell and it will be nice to have another big-race runner for Waratah Thoroughbreds after Sir John Hawkwood’s win last week,’’ Vandyke said.