Daniel Stackhouse will ride Minhaaj in the Slipper with the filly getting a start as 2nd emergency.
Two scratchings from the Golden Slipper have paved the way for jockey Daniel Stackhouse to get a career-changing opportunity in the $3.5 million race on Minhaaj.
The second emergency’s place in Saturday’s race was confirmed when Cellsabeel was withdrawn on Thursday morning, a day after the Chris Waller-trained Global Quest was scratched.
It means 29-year-old Victorian-based Stackhouse has the chance to ride in his first Golden Slipper, chasing his first Group One win having been placed at the elite level three times.
He will be competing at Rosehill for the first time but having begun his career in New Zealand and riding in both directions, he is used to clockwise racing.
“I was pretty excited. I had my fingers crossed all week,” Stackhouse said.
“You don’t really see many scratchings in the Slipper or in a Group One race, especially being second emergency. So I was just hoping.
“It’s really exciting. This is the biggest race I’ve ever ridden in. I’m just thankful to the stable and (owners) Shadwell for leaving me on for this great opportunity.”
Stackhouse has ridden Minhaaj in both her starts for a five-length win on debut in a Bendigo maiden before taking out the Group Three Thoroughbred Breeders Stakes (1200m) at Flemington by 4-1/2-lengths.
Minhaaj, one of two runners for the Lindsay Park stable along with Personal, was at $14 on Thursday and Stackhouse believes the filly has improved further.
“I galloped her on Monday and she had improved a lot off her last run, I thought. She was a lot sharper,” he said.
“It looks like it’s going to be a high-tempo sort of race. If she begins well I won’t be too far off the speed, just behind them, and just give her a chance.
“Hopefully we get a bit of luck and we can go well.”
Stackhouse has been able to book himself a spot on the charter flight bringing a number of jockeys from Melbourne to Sydney for Saturday’s feature meeting.
Victorian racing’s protocols surrounding the coronavirus situation are that jockeys must use a private vehicle or plane.
Stackhouse has also had to get off his mounts at Saturday’s Mornington Cup meeting to ride in the Slipper.
The Rosehill meeting will be closed to the public.
“With no crowd it’s going to be a bit weird,” Stackhouse said.
But a win, he says, could be life-changing.
“It would change my career and my life, I think,” he said.
“It would be unreal.”