The 2009 renewal of the G2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill on Saturday had to be seen to be believed when glamour filly More Joyous put on a sensational buckjumping display that placed her Golden Slipper aspirations in dire jeopardy.
And whilst a stunned racing public sat captivated by More Joyous' rodeo-like histrionics, talented Redoute's Choice filly Melito danced away with the spoils to announce herself as a serious contender for the slipper crown.
The slipper picture wasn't supposed to look like this.
More Joyous, the superbly bred filly which had seized Golden Slipper favouritism with a sparkling 5 ½ length victory on debut four weeks ago, was expected to simply canter around in the Silver Slipper, win effortlessly and automatically qualify for the world's richest two-year-old race.
But racing is never predictable. It's not in its nature.
Instead, fate intervened and caused More Joyous' saddle to slip when the barriers flew open. Consequently she took no part in the race, costing punters around the country, who had invested heavily on the $1.35 favourite, a fortune.
More Joyous simply reacted as any horse would; becoming agitated when her saddle slipped and the girth strap shifted to an uncomfortable position just behind her ribcage, near her flank.
She immediately began buckjumping and continued to do so for approximately 100 metres until jockey Nash Rawiller calmed her down and brought her under control. It was a brilliant show of horsemanship by Rawiller who not only remained aboard the hyperactive filly, but importantly ensured she did not harm herself.
The freakish incident, which strangely mirrored what occurred with leading slipper fancy Essaouira in Melbourne only two hours prior, presents trainer Gai Waterhouse with quite a dilemma.
Sydney's leading trainer was hoping that her juvenile star could win the Silver Slipper and proceed directly to the Golden Slipper on April 4 without another run.
That was plan A. Now for plan B.
More Joyous must trial by order of stewards' before she can race again to try and force her way into the slipper field. The difficulty lies in the fact that she has only four weeks to achieve this.
Owner John Singleton acknowledged the role that chance had played when he commented after the race, "The racing gods weren't smiling down on us today."
Indeed they were not.
Conversely in the Melito camp, the mood was more upbeat with winning trainer Gerald Ryan declaring Melito the best two-year-old he has ever thrown a saddle over.
"She worked with Beaucoup on Tuesday morning and donkey-licked her running super time, so I was confident she'd run well," he said, in an endorsement referring to Beaucoup's impressive win in the first race on the card.
"She's a great filly to train, does everything right. The best two-year-old I have trained," Ryan continued.
"And there's more to come. She can only go ahead and improve from here."
Because of her inexperience - she has only had one barrier trial and two races to get her fit this preparation - Ryan will give Melito one more slipper lead-up in the G2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on March 21st to bring her to her peak for the feature.
The Bart Cummings-trained runner-up Sunday Rose is another youngster well up to slipper standard but on this occasion found Melito a touch too classy when she loomed up to challenge inside the final furlong.
Melito, which Ryan purchased at the 2008 Magic Millions Yearling Sale on the Gold Coast for $600,000 from the consignment of Reavill Farm, hails from the highly successful Summoned family which includes outstanding G1 sprinter and sire Zeditave.
By champion stallion Redoute's Choice, Melito is the fifth named foal of Marauding mare Cloister, winner of the 1998 Debutante Stakes in Melbourne and also placed in a Gimcrack Stakes.
Cloister's stakes winning dam, Pampas Fire, is a half sister to Group winners Alannon, Square Deal, Zedagal and the aforementioned Zeditave, from the wonderful producer Summoned.
Summoned, a granddaughter of Raise A Native, had sixteen progeny make it to the track in a distinguished broodmare career. Fortuitously, seven of those were fillies so her influence can be expected to continue for many generations to come.
Some of her extended brood include South African champion Greys Inn; G3 winner Verocative, the dam of Jet Spur; Flying Alpha; Daedalus; Kidman and Silken Appeal.
Pic - Sportpix
© 2014 Published 01/03/09