Eustace: Dubious up for Slipper challenge
IT'S full steam ahead towards the Golden Slipper for Magic Millions runner-up Dubious, and co-trainer David Eustace is confident he can win it.
"We were proud of his effort - we couldn't have asked for anything more," Eustace said.
"He really stuck his neck out, but was beaten by a very good filly, full credit to James Cummings and his team. I'm not worried about taking on Exhilarates again.
"There was very little between them and he's got plenty of improvement in him.
"We're not shying anyway from her or anyone else in terms of the Golden Slipper.
"Apart from losing, we couldn't have been happier."
Dubious dashed clear at the 200m mark and look set for victory, but was overhauled by Exhilarates. Eustace said Dubious was only having his third start compared to Exhilarates' fifth.
"If you were searching for an excuse, he was half a length slow at the jump and he was also pinned against the rails," he said. "He had a good run on the fence (and) he kicked clear but was run down by a superior Group 1 horse."
Eustace said Dubious would spend a week or two in the paddock and have one lead-in run before the Golden Slipper on March 23. He called Saturday a red-letter day for the stable.
"We saddled up four starters in three different states and we've come away with a win at Flemington and Randwick and a second in the Magic Millions," he said.
The stable had two starters at Flemington, winning with Bold Arial and finishing second with Naantali, while Star Falls won at Randwick.
"That's a real vote of confidence for our team and our systems," Eustace said.
"It's a great start for our new Sydney stable."
Co-trainer Ciaron Maher was one of the most prolific buyers at the Magic Millions Yearling Sales, spending $4.5 million for 19 yearlings at an average price of $240,526.