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Fairytale maiden victory for Slip Of Colada

21 February 2024

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Redcliffe | Redcliffe Peninsula Harness Racing & Sporting Club | 9:57 PM


D: Mathew Neilson
D: Nathan Dawson
D: Shane Graham

By Jordan Gerrans

Ipswich’s Michael Bailey has long held the ambition to have a sulky and horse to drive around on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Just a leisurely drive with his grandchildren, he says.

Bailey has been involved in harness racing over the years but is also embedded in the drag racing scene in Queensland as well as running his brake and clutch business in Ipswich.

He finally got that horse and sulky to drive not long ago – a standardbred he refers to as ‘Slip,' who raced as Slip Of Colada many years ago.

Bailey purchased the gelding at a sale for $800 and took him to trainer David Rodger’s property so on a weekend he could head out and have a drive.

Bailey and Rodger have known each other for many years.

“I find it exhilarating to get him in the sulky,” Bailey said.

“As I am used to drag racing, we are meant to go fast – so we did. He was meant to be a pet.”

Bailey, Rodger and most certainly Slip Of Colada never dreamed that the gelding would ever make it back to the races.

He was officially retired after his previous owner no longer wanted to race him and the now seven-year-old was deregistered as a race horse.

Slip Of Colada and Mathew Neilson following Wednesday's win.

On Wednesday evening at Redcliffe, Slip Of Colada claimed one of the most unlikely maiden victories ever at 'The Triangle' track.

The son of Left By Colada was put back into work last year and jumped through all the required hoops such as being cleared by a veterinarian, officially being registered as a race horse once again and trialling sufficiently in front of stewards.

“It is one of them stories that do not happen often,” Rodger said.

“He is a horse that has come back from the brink to win a race, which is good.

“I think he will win a few more as he is a seven-year-old that has only had one start before I got him with a couple of trials. He is still racing like a baby as he knows nothing yet. He is still green and that is how he races, he is still learning.”

Slip Of Colada had his first couple of trials back in 2019 and did not set the world on fire so he did not make it to a race debut.

He returned to the trials in 2022 for a couple of efforts.

They were a little bit better, which earned him a maiden race day appearance.

In that run at Redcliffe in February of 2022, he was beaten out of sight.

‘Slip’ was back at the trials later in 2022 and it is fair to say he had not improved much so he did not find a second career race start.

A couple of years later and after Bailey bought the pacer, he was living out his life at Rodger’s property with his broodmares.

Slip Of Colada and Mathew Neilson during Wednesday's win.

He had bowed a tendon at some point in his racing journey, which contributed to the retirement decision by the previous owners.

“He went to the sales looking for a quiet cart horse so he can ride around in the sulky,” Rodger said of Bailey. 

“He brought the horse up to my place and he would come up on the weekends and put him in the sulky to drive him around.

“He then asked me If I would give him a go training him. We put him in work and went from there. We did that for a few months to see how he went.”

He was back on the public scene last month at Redcliffe in his first outing for Rodger.

The trial was not great – he was beaten a tick over 25 metres – but it was a step forward as he had his first run for the Tarampa-based horseman at Marburg a few weeks later.

He finished second and was only beaten just under two metres before he stunned everyone involved to score on Wednesday at the Peninsula-based club.

Slip Of Colada arrived at the last second to win in the final event on the program. 

“He was over the moon, he was cheering he was,” the trainer said of Bailey’s reaction.



Marburg | Marburg Pacing Association | 2:28 PM


D: Trent Hodges
D: Angus Garrard
D: Nathan Dawson

“He was at Redcliffe on Wednesday night watching him. The horse raced the week before at Marburg and he ran second on that day. He was happy that day to see him even run second.”

Bailey was content having a spin around his mate's property with his grandkids in the sulky just a few months ago.

Now ‘Slip’ is a race winner.

“We were extremely happy,” Bailey said.

“Mathew Neilson drove him and told us that he was just a lovely horse to drive.”

The 47-year-old Rodger was chuffed for his loyal owner and mate.

”I have not done anything special with him, he has been here a few months and we gave him a month jogging and hobbling up,” Rodger said.

“He trialled a couple of times on a Sunday at Marburg and went fair. He had a week off around Christmas and then a couple more trials at Marburg and Redcliffe and he qualified again to race. We just started him from there.”

Slip Of Colada is likely to find his next race assignment at Marburg in the coming weeks.

Rodger is enjoying one of the best runs of his tenure as a harness trainer over the last few years.

He tallied 13 winners back in 2022 before landing 20 last year and is on the way to a respectable number again in 2024 with six already to his name.



Redcliffe | Redcliffe Peninsula Harness Racing & Sporting Club | 12:07 PM


D: Chris Petroff
D: Mathew Neilson
D: Zac Chappenden