Wendy Roche has set her first juvenile to race this season a tough assignment at Rosehill as Affogato launches an ambitious bid to qualify for the Golden Slipper.
The Warwick Farm trainer initially planned to sell Affogato at last October’s Ready To Run Sale but when he was passed in at $210,000 Roche decided to set him for a crack at the Slipper, the world’s richest race for two-year-olds.
Roche expects the colt will be better equipped when he is a three-year-old, but with the $3.5 million Golden Slipper a month away Affogato has his first start in a Maiden Handicap (1100m) on Wednesday.
“He’s in the the Slipper because he’s sound and if he doesn’t make it , it’s not a great loss,” Roche said.
“I think he’s a very good horse. I just think it’s a bit early for him. In saying that he’s by More Than Ready and it’s a wet track so he should acquit himself quite well.
Rosehill was rated in the heavy range on Tuesday.
Roche said Queensland was an option for Affogato should he find the likes of Godolphin colt Wagner too classy.
“I think it’s one of the hottest maidens in the country. Wagner’s a good horse, and there’s a few others so I’ve thrown him in the deep end,” she said.
Affogato was at $61 with the TAB on Tuesday while Wagner, one of seven debutants in the 12-horse field, led the market at $1.90.
Roche said Affogato’s two lead-up trials in January and earlier this month were deceptive.
In the first he over-raced with blinkers on and then settled too far back on February 15 before finishing off well.
“It’s better than what it looks on paper. I think he’ll settle and get to the line and hopefully he’ll run in the first four,” Roche said.