Chris Waller Wins His First Golden Slipper

It was a Golden Slipper that had a bit of everything.

Champion trainer Chris Waller scored a coveted win with Shinzo in the only grand slam race that had eluded him, globetrotting jockey Ryan Moore made it a Group 1 double after snaring the Ranvet Stakes on Dubai Honour, while for connections of Learning To Fly it was a heart-breaking afternoon with the filly falling near the 600m.

Thankfully, jockey Chad Schofield escaped serious injury, while the Annabel Neasham-trained Learning To Fly was lame but got straight back on her feet.

The result was one of mixed emotions for Coolmore’s Tom Magnier, a majority owner of Shinzo and Learning To Fly.

“It’s hard to enjoy the moment,” Magnier said.

“I’m just hoping Learning To Fly and Chad Schofield are OK. I feel for Annabel (Neasham).

“But Golden Slippers are so hard to win. This is the race we wanted to win more than any other this year.

“We asked Ryan Moore to come out and ride Shinzo at short notice and what can you say about him? Thank God for Ryan Moore, he is on another level, he is so patient.”

The UK-based Moore had two Group 1 rides at Rosehill and won both of them.

While he is a rare visitor to Sydney, the enormity of winning a Golden Slipper (1200m) wasn’t lost on him.

“Growing up the Golden Slipper was always one of the big races that everyone knew around the world,” Moore said.

“Maybe times have changed, but it was always the premier race in New South Wales.”

For Waller, who trains at Rosehill and is known for his patient approach with horses, there were doubters who questioned whether he would ever add a Golden Slipper to his glittering resume.

He answered them in the best way possible but while emotional in the aftermath, it came from knowing how far he had come, not from proving any point.

“I’ve watched more Golden Slippers than anyone my age, from a young age, some from New Zealand, some from Kembla Grange, some from Newcastle, I guess one or two sitting at home,” Waller said.

“I know it’s a big deal.

“Emotionally, it means a lot to me, simple as that. But I’m not here to prove things to anyone.”

Colts filled the first three placings in the Golden Slipper, Shinzo ($16 sneaking up along the rails to chase down Cylinder ($3.40 fav) and score by 1-1/4 lengths with King’s Gambit ($8) flashing home for third another 1-1/2 lengths away.

Godolphin’s Vin Cox said Cylinder ran a great race but couldn’t match the winner on the day.

“Cylinder had his chance but was beaten by a better horse on the day. We have no excuses,” Cox said.

Blanc De Blanc ($26) was the first filly across the line, finishing sixth.

– RAS NewsWire

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