Rodd continues winning ways on Slapstick
By Mandy Cottell
Sunday 21 March 2010, 5:50pm
Michael Rodd continued his brilliant form in black-type races when he guided the Guy Walter-trained Slapstick to victory in the Group Three Keith Nolan Classic at Kembla Grange.
The victory was Rodd's fifth stakes success in nine days after he won the Australian Guineas aboard Rock Classic at Flemington on March 13 and celebrated a treble at Rosehill on Saturday via Golden Slipper favourite Military Rose, Masquerader and Bellagio Wynn.
"It's a nice way to finish the weekend with a cherry on the top," Rodd said.
The Victorian-based hoop was happy to bide his time aboard Slapstick, letting her find her feet early before bringing her with a strong run in the straight to just stave off the late dive of Mirrasalo by a nose with Spinnawitch another half length back.
"She let down and then battled away a bit, so she's going to get a bit of ground," Rodd said.
"She was having a bit of a look around as well."
Rodd has a busy week ahead and will make a special trip to Scone to partner his Golden Slipper mount Beneteau in an unofficial barrier trial on Thursday before reuniting with Rock Classic in Saturday's Group One Rosehill Guineas.
It was Walter's third Keith Nolan Classic (1600m) following wins by Floria in 2002 and Bernicia two years ago and he believes Sunday's winner could develop into a AJC Australian Oaks contender this autumn.
"She's a different type of horse, she lacks the brilliance of Bernicia but she is the equal, if not a bit better than Floria," Walter said.
"Her potential is untapped.
"She has always had ability and she was just beaten by a colt last start (Tuscan Breeze), similar to Rocha before she went to Melbourne and won the (2008) Wakeful Stakes.
"We were hopeful but not confident she could make the step up today."
Walter said Slapstick would either head to the Storm Queen Stakes or the Adrian Knox Stakes for her next start and pending her performance there would press on to the Oaks.
Little Surfer Girl was sent out favourite but was tardy to begin and finished fourth.
Earlier in the day, Darley's Peter Snowden combined with underrated jockey Josh Parr for a winning treble with Merge, Parthian and Jerezana.