Gai Waterhouse looks out over Rosehill Racecourse ahead of her bid for a record 7th Golden Slipper.
Gai Waterhouse has her sights on a record seventh Golden Slipper win.
But there will be something different if the champion trainer edges past her late father TJ Smith on Saturday when she starts in-form colt Santos in the Rosehill feature.
Santos could give Waterhouse her first Slipper in partnership with Adrian Bott.
“You love to break records, and it’s lovely he’s good enough to be in the Slipper,” Waterhouse said.
“If I can win this race for my owners, and with Adrian, it’s something very special.
“Because we’re a partnership now.
“It’s not just Gai winning the Golden Slipper. It’s very much Adrian and Gai.”
Santos will be the Waterhouse-Bott partnership’s first Slipper starter.
Waterhouse’s most recent Slipper winner was Vancouver in 2015 and followed wins by Overreach (2013), Pierro (2012), Sebring (2008), Dance Hero (2004) and Ha Ha (2001).
The Golden Slipper has long been the target for Santos who finished third in the Breeders’ Plate on debut in late September and fourth in a race at Randwick two weeks later.
He has returned this campaign with wins in the Pierro Plate and Skyline Stakes.
“Even though he didn’t win the Breeders’ Plate, I’d made up my mind then he was my Golden Slipper chance,” Waterhouse said.
“He’s a happy chappy and he’s very bright.
“He was good at the track this morning. He only had a little light work-out and he trialled nicely the other day.
“He’s ticking over beautifully.”
Santos goes in with three weeks between races, with Waterhouse and Bott electing to give him a barrier trial last Thursday in between the Skyline and Saturday’s Slipper, to keep him ticking over for the big day.
“He’s in the Slipper and didn’t have to win any more races,” Waterhouse said.
“The race I want him to win is the Golden Slipper.”
Waterhouse said Santos’ lead-up wins had shown his gutsiness.
“I think if there’s one thing you’d say about Santos, you’d say he has enormous determination,” Waterhouse said.
“He’s a very gutsy, tough horse.”
Tim Clark, who is unbeaten on Santos and has the ride in the Golden Slipper, nodded with approval when the colt came up with barrier seven at Tuesday’s draw.