PATINACK trainer John Thompson has turned to Sydney's best trackwork rider to help sort out his huge team of two-year-olds, and was buoyed by his opinion of Gimcrack winner Hussousa at the weekend.
The grey filly returned to racing with a third to Driefontein in the Widden Stakes a couple of weeks ago but Thompson had left plenty in the tank and will send her out against the boys in the Silver Slipper at Rosehill on Saturday.
When asked about his juvenile team, Thompson said provincial jockey Jason Lee had become a key member of his team. ''I'm not usually a fan of using jockeys at trackwork but Jason is very good at assessing horses,'' Thompson said. ''I throw him on the young ones and know he is going to give me an honest answer.
''He doesn't know what they are when he gets on them, so he can only go on how they work. I put him on Hussousa on Saturday morning, and he came back and asked, 'What's that?' He said she's a Slipper horse and there is still a fair bit of improvement left in her.''
Thompson had booked Blake Shinn to ride Hussousa in the Silver Slipper but Shinn's suspension at Caulfield on Saturday has opened the door for Hugh Bowman to jump in the saddle. ''I was not worried about her Widden run because she went into it a bit fat,'' Thompson said. ''We are looking at a race in six weeks, and she will improve with every run.''
The Silver Slipper will bring together the better colts and fillies for the first time in Sydney. Gai Waterhouse has earmarked the race as the starting point for Breeders Plate winner Pierro.
She has four of the top five in Golden Slipper betting; only Samaready, which moved in to $4.80 favourite after her Blue Diamond win on Saturday, breaks the Waterhouse stranglehold.
Golden Slipper second elect Raceway is likely to wait a couple of weeks before being seen again, while No Looking Back, which added a runner-up finish in the Blue Diamond to her controversial second in the Magic Millions, is a $9 hope for the world's richest race for two-year-olds. Pierro is a $13 chance alongside Magic Millions winner Driefontein but will meet several horses starting their campaign towards the Golden Slipper.
Meidung and Faustus, which both impressed in the spring, will begin their autumn preparations for Darley and John O'Shea respectively, after running placings in barrier trials at Rosehill last week.
Jim Cassidy will continue his association with Faustus, a son of More Than Ready after winning on him in November but will be hoping for a dry track after he could only manage second in his barrier trial.
''He went disgraceful in his trial on the wet track,'' O'Shea said. ''He has come back a strong, bigger horse and it was the right decision to miss the Magic Millions with him with an eye to the Slipper. Jimmy is putting it down to the wet track, so we want it dry for him.''
David Pfieffer-trained Nediym's Quest is the unknown factor in the Silver Slipper. The colt is a $26 chance for the Golden Slipper on the strength of two trial wins. ''There is no hiding, and if he is going to be a Golden Slipper horse he is going to have to take these horses on sometime,'' Pfieffer said.