Japanese Slipper win a surprise to Echuca trainer Rhys Archard

By Andrew Johnston

Japanese Slipper's win at Werribee on April 4 was a surprise to many.

Including her trainer Rhys Archard.

“We were preparing to run her at Kerang,” he said.

“The meeting ended up being cancelled, so it looked like we had pulled her out of a spell for nothing.”

The eight-year-old hadn't raced since October at a meeting at Kyneton, where she had run dead last in a field of 10.

But a recent trial at Benalla had given Archard the confidence to put her back on track.

“She ran really well,” he said.

“There was a bit of a question in mind about how that would translate over to a proper run. it's a bit like football or netball, you can see a trail and think there is form there, but it's very different to having match fitness.

“In the end it was decided she was ready for a race, but the cancellation of the Kerang meeting threw that out a bit.”

Late in the piece, however, an opportunity came to enter Japanese Slipper into the Werribee races on April 4.

“Thankfully that opportunity presented,” Archard said.

“We'd put the work in by then, so she was ready to run, and now we had an opportunity to get her in a race again.”

Now faced with a wet, heavy track, Slipper looked to be in some trouble, sitting last with 800 m to go, though moving up to sixth before the final 400 m.

Though Archard knew the conditions were going to provide the perfect opportunity.

“She loves a wet track,” he said.

“When we'd seen the conditions we were feeling pretty good. She was at the back, but made the charge and was able to get the win.

“In the end she performed excellently and we were really happy with the way she performed.”