Australian Turf Club has received a huge jump in nominations for Sydney's signature race, the Group 1 $3.5 million Longines Golden Slipper Stakes at Rosehill Gardens.

A total of 2006 nominations were taken when entries closed on Tuesday, an increase of 150 on the previous year. The vote of confidence in Rosehill Gardens' premier event on 19 March, as part of the first three-week Longines Golden Slipper Festival, is further proof of the race's growing stature.

The $3.5 million Longines Golden Slipper - the world's richest race for two-year-olds - is recognised as the race that shapes the Australian racing and breeding industry.



Left: Vancouver [Tommy Berry] wins this year's Golden Slipper. Picture by Bronwen Healy

This year's winner - super colt Vancouver trained by the Golden Slipper's record-equalling trainer Gai Waterhouse - has already been sold as a stallion for a reported $40 million.

The biggest partner in global racing, Swiss watchmaker Longines, has strengthened its union with Australian Turf Club and Sydney racing by sponsoring the Golden Slipper and three weeks of racing at Rosehill Gardens in the Sydney Autumn, on a long-term basis.

Longines also sponsors Sydney's richest race, the $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Royal Randwick during The Championships.

The world's largest racing and breeding organisation Godolphin, lead by trainer John O'Shea, has the most nominations for the 2016 Longines Golden Slipper with 158 horses.

The queen of Sydney racing Gai Waterhouse has 113 nominations as she aims for a record seventh victory in the race, after equalling it this year with her legendary father TJ Smith. Other leading trainers with large numbers of nominations include David Hayes 86, Peter Snowden 84 and Sydney's champion trainer Chris Waller 84.

Sires represented by the most nominations are: Snitzel 106, Fastnet Rock 86, Smart Missile 78, Sebring 77, and More Than Ready and Northern Meteor both 62. Of first season sires, Foxwedge has 57 nominations, and Sepoy, who won the race in 2011, has 53 progeny nominated.

ATC Chief Executive, Darren Pearce said: "The ATC continues to lift the already iconic stature of the Longines Golden Slipper and these strong nominations are a significant vote of confidence. The worth of Vancouver as a stallion and the involvement of a global partner in Longines show the Golden Slipper as a breeding and racing event that influences the industry like no other."

The full list of nominations can be found on the ATC website - 2016 Longines Golden Slipper Nominations