Cootamundra Herald

All systems go for Storm Boy after impressive Golden Slipper trial

Picture Shutterstock
Picture Shutterstock

Storm Boy remains firmly on track for the Golden Slipper Stakes on March 23 after romping home in a 1,000 metres exhibition gallop at Randwick Kensington.

The unbeaten wonder colt has been heavily backed for the $5 million showpiece following his hugely impressive victory in Skyline Stakes earlier this month.

The top betting sites in Australia cut the horse's odds to 2.40 for the Golden Slipper after that run and he looks to be a banker bet to get the job done.

The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained colt gave another demonstration of his ability by brushing aside stablemate Soldier Of Rome in his trial.

Storm Boy ran the last 600 metres in 34.01 seconds and champion jockey James McDonald believes he will now be spot on for his bid to win the prestigious Golden Slipper.

"He was very good - he's right on track," McDonald said.

McDonald partnered the son of Justify in the Skyline and is understandably eager to retain the ride at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse.

However, his hopes could be scuppered by top British jockey Ryan Moore, who won the race last year on the Coolmore-owned Shinzo.

The respected breeding operation are double handed in this year's renewal, with Storm Boy and recent Todman Stakes winner Switzerland both in their ownership.

Bott refused to be drawn on riding arrangements for the Slipper, with a final decision likely to be made when the final acceptance time passes next Tuesday.

Regardless of which jockey eventually gets the nod to ride Storm Boy, Bott believes the horse will be extremely tough to beat at Rosehill.

"I thought it was a really nice piece of work," he said. "He settled lovely throughout and quickened up nicely when asked.

"There was an immediate response there and he was good through the line and looked to have plenty of reserve. I think even getting out here to the races did its job today."

While the bookies believe the Slipper will turn into a two-way fight between Storm Boy and Switzerland, several other trainers have other ideas.

They include Annabel Neasham, who is planning to run Castanya in the race despite the filly missing last Saturday's Reisling Stakes due to a foot abscess.

Castanya is now scheduled to run in the Magic Night Stakes at Rosehill this weekend, which will leave a tight seven-day preparation time for the Slipper.

"It's not ideal going there (to the Golden Slipper) with the back-up, but we saw Shinzo (2023) do it and the Cummings' filly (Kiamichi - 2019) did it a few years ago," Neasham said.

"She is the sort of filly where if it's a very high-pressure race, which it should be, she will be one of the strongest ones late."

Castanya finished second behind Switzerland on her debut in January, before powering past the field to claim victory in the Listed Darley Lonhro Plate last month.

Chris Waller is also eyeing a tilt at the Slipper with Gatsby's, who was an impressive winner of the Ranvet Handicap at Canterbury Park last month.

Gatsby's will line-up in the Pago Pago Stakes at Randwick this weekend, and a victory there will likely force the bookies to slash the horse's odds for the Slipper.

Clinton McDonald is another trainer keen to take on the big guns in the Slipper with recent Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes winner Hayasugi.

The filly missed a trial earlier this week, but McDonald is confident she can give the favourites something to think about at Rosehill Gardens.

Hayasugi is priced at odds of 17.00 with several leading Aussie bookies and could be decent each-way value given the manner of her victory in the Blue Diamond.

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