James McDonald rides Ottoman at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
James McDonald rides Ottoman at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday. Anthony Johnson

Exciting Ottoman on Golden path

GOLDEN Slipper favourite Ottoman could have two races before taking on the big one in March next year.

Godolphin racing manager Jason Walsh said Ottoman, who raced to $7.50 favouritism for the Slipper on the back of her spectacular debut win in Saturday's TAB Place Multi Bet Plate at Rosehill, could have two starts leading into the big race.

Walsh said the Reisling Stakes (1200m), which takes place a fortnight before the Slipper, would seem a logical way to go but added any decisions would be made after discussions with trainer John O'Shea when he returns from his Canadian break.

The horse has been sent to paddock after Saturday's win and Walsh said he wasn't sure if another run was needed for the daughter of Exceed And Excel.

"We'll discuss if we give her one more before the Reisling as she still has a fair bit to learn," Walsh said.

"She's quite a smart filly.

"We had a big opinion of her going into it and it was good to see her get away with it like that.

"You don't see too many two-year-olds pull that sort of ground off them that late. I think she may have even peaked on her run 100 metres out, but was still tough enough to get by.

"She's a really exciting filly for next year."

Stablemate Bosnia, who finished 3½ lengths second behind Claudia Jean on debut at Flemington, will also be sent for a short spell with Walsh identifying the VRC Sires' Produce as a potential autumn target.

"Craig (Williams) wasn't unhappy with him, but he said he gave him the feel of a seven-furlong (1400m) horse," Walsh said.

Meanwhile, The Bagot Handicap at Flemington on New Year's Day is firmly on the agenda for De Little Engine, which made it three straight with a strong victory at Flemington.

The four-year-old landed his third straight win in the Bitalli Handicap (2520m) on Saturday.

A drifter from $2.35 to $2.90, De Little Engine was too strong in holding off Rodway ($6.50) by a half-length.

Winning rider James Winks said: "He's good at what he does and that's stay. There's no brilliance about him."


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