Tough Widden Stakes winning filly Away Game could head straight into the 2020 Golden Slipper following her third straight victory at Randwick on Saturday.
Co-trainer Ciaron Maher was suitably impressed with the in-form daughter of Snitzel’s latest victory when backing-up from her Magic Millions 2YO Classic success to take out the Group 3 $160,000 Widden Stakes (1100m) in Sydney.
Taking her career record up to three wins from four starts, the two-year-old had to dig deep in the closing stages of the Widden Stakes with visiting hoop Tom Marquand aboard for her all-the-way effort.
“She’s clearly among some of the nicest horses I’ve ever ridden,” the winning jockey said.
“She had to do that the hard way, she’s clearly a battler.
“She showed even amounts of grit and determination there.
“Clearly she’s very talented and she’s good enough to take on the best.”
The first Widden Stakes favourite to salute for the punters since subsequent Golden Slipper champion Overreach (2013), Away Game pushed forward form barrier five of five and was impressive carrying the 57.5kg top weight.
Setting a new weight carrying record in the race, the $2.10 top elect looked a little lost up along the rails once on the straight with her rivals tightly bunched behind her and giving chase.
The fit and best experienced filly in the race, Away Game was able to surge forward over the final 100m and race away with an impressive two and a quarter length victory over the Chris Waller-trained Centimental.
After getting squeezed for a run on the straight, the Anthony Cummings-trained Philizzy held for a close third to round-out the trifecta in the first on Expressway Stakes Day.
“She had to add another string to her bow,” Maher said post-win.
“He (Marquand) had to give her a squeeze…it looked like she was a little bit lost on the rail.
“Tom rode her very well, he had to push the button.”
Maher said the team would now look at where Away Game sat on the Golden Slipper order of entry following Saturday’s racing with her Magic Millions Classic prize money not counted towards her eligibility for a run in the $3.5 million feature.
Should she be guaranteed a start in the Rosehill classic on March 21, Maher said the Widden Stakes winner may not race again before Golden Slipper Day.
“She’s now a dual stakes winner very early in her career,” he said.
“She’s on route to the Sipper so we’ll see where she sits after this monetary wise.
“We might not see her again until then. She certainly doesn’t need a lot of racing.
“This filly is very sharp and very natural.”
All-in Golden Slipper betting at Ladbrokes.com.au on Away Game has firmed from $19 into $14.