Last start winner of the Group 2 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m), the Danny O’Brien-trained colt Running Tall is in top form and looks set to bring some stiff competition to Sepoy in the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill this Saturday.
Running Tall, a son of 2005 Golden Slipper winner Stratum, ran third on debut beaten less than a length by Arctic Command in the Group 3 Maribyrnong Plate (1000m) at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day last year.
The promising two-year-old then resumed this year with a first-up second to glamour colt and Golden Slipper favourite Sepoy in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) on February 12 before finishing a well-beaten seventh in the $1 million main event.
O’Brien put Running Tall’s disappointing Blue Diamond run down to adding blinkers to his gear too soon.
Back in the winners stall last-start, Running Tall was never threatened coasting to an emphatic two length win in the VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes in his final Golden Slipper lead-up.
Flemington-based trainer O’Brien, who lines up his first ever Golden Slipper runner this year, was full of praise for Running Tall who pulled up perfectly from the VRC Sires’ Produce.
“He’s a lovely colt and has improved again from the Sires going into the Slipper,” O’Brien said.
“I am very pleased with him and we are full of confidence.”
In Tuesday’s 2011 Golden Slipper barrier draw Running Tall came up with gate eight and is due to be ridden by the talented young Melbourne-based jockey Ben Melham.
O’Brien was admittedly happier with the barrier.
“He will camp just off the speed and be ready to pounce once they turn for home. He’s going into the Slipper in the best shape of his career and will run a mighty race.”
Running Tall currently sits as a $26 outsider in the AAMI Golden Slipper markets.
“I tend to think he is still over the odds,” O’Brien said.
“He did win a Group 2 race convincingly last time and was completely dominant. It was a very emphatic victory.”