Sword Of Osman and Opie Bosson romp to victory by almost six lengths in the Reid & Harrison Slipper.
If an unplaced run in the Karaka Million dulled any of the hype surrounding Sword Of Osman, the super-talented son of Savabeel restored it in style in today’s Gr. 3 Reid & Harrison Slipper at Matamata.
The $165,000 yearling purchase has been held in high regard from the outset by trainers Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards and stable jockey Opie Bosson, and he lived up to his reputation with a powerful three-length win on debut in December.
Thrown in at the deep end for the Karaka Million in just his second career start, Sword Of Osman finished eighth and 5.7 lengths from his winning stablemate Avantage.
Today he bounced back with a scintillating performance, leading throughout the 1200-metre event and exploding away in the straight to win by five and three-quarter lengths.
“He was travelling much too keenly in front,” Bosson said. “With how hard he was going, I thought he’d be gone before the turn. But he’s a really, really good horse.
“He’s one of the best we’ve got in our stable – I’ve said that from day one. I think he’s got a really bright future as a three-year-old.”
While today’s performance likely booked Sword Of Osman a rematch with Avantage in the Gr. 1 Sistema Stakes in two weeks’ time, Autridge believes the gelding’s best will be a few months further down the track.
“I was just saying to David (Ellis, Te Akau principal) what a three-year-old I think he’s going to be,” he said.
“But I think after that performance today, we’ll have to have a look at the Group One at Ellerslie.
“I thought he was racing a bit keen today and I didn’t think he’d be able to kick the way he did, but obviously that’s just the way he likes to race. He’s got a ton of ability.
“I think, with the Karaka Million, he was just in at the deep end. He won his first start like he did today, and he didn’t learn a lot from it. Then in the Karaka Million he was jammed up on the fence, didn’t have a lot of room and didn’t know what was going on. We just turned the page after that and carried on.”
Sword Of Osman’s three-start, two-win career has so far netted $71,250 in prize-money for his owners the Te Akau Great Sword Syndicate.
It was the Te Akau team’s second Slipper win in the last three years, having won it with the subsequent Sistema Stakes winner Heroic Valour in 2016.
For good measure, the winner’s stablemate Handsome Rebel finished third in today’s race for John Galvin’s Fortuna team. The son of Denman has now had four starts for four placings, including two at stakes level.
“He got shuffled back a bit, went wide at the corner and found the line well,” Autridge said. “He’s a chance of improving.”
Splitting the pair in second place was the Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman-trained Thomas Aquinas. He has now finished second in two of his three starts, with the only exception being his close sixth in the Karaka Million.
The colt’s runner-up finish today was the first black type for his young sire Jakkalberry, who sadly died this week following an intestinal infection.