Of the 143 Group 1 wins against Chris Waller’s name none of them are the Longines Golden Slipper.
That’s not a statistic that at all bothers the champion trainer, and you’d imagine that statistic’s days are numbered, but Waller appears quietly confident that Shinzo could be the horse to provide a first at Rosehill on Saturday.
The colt has a Golden Slipper pedigree – both his parents (Snitzel in 2005 and Samaready in 2012) started favourite in the world’s richest two-year-old race – and he has the world’s best jockey Ryan Moore to steer.
Waller has long said his focus has never been on rushing a two-year-old into a Slipper, hence his small number of runners to date, and with Shinzo a win in the Group 1 $5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) would be a bonus to a horse he sees as potentially a star three-year-old.
“It’s our home track, it’s a race that’s shaped the breeding industry in recent decades,’’ Waller said.
“It’d be a welcome win if we happened to pull it off but it’s obviously a quality field and we respect that. We give our horses time and they normally repay us as late-season two-year-olds, as three-year-olds and beyond.
“Longevity is the key. We want all three horses this Saturday running here next year and the year after that as well.
“That’s something I’ve stuck with and that’s probably cost us winning a Slipper with some of the good horses we’ve had, but I’ve got no regrets.”
Amazingly, Waller has had just seven Golden Slipper runners. His best result is a fifth in 2020 with Hungry Heart while the likes of TAB Everest winner Yes Yes Yes (2019) and Group 1 winner Home Affairs (2021) have finished out of the placings.
Shinzo won his way into the Slipper with an impressive Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) win last Saturday, stablemate Lazzago earned her ticket taking out the Sweet Embrace Stakes (1200m) while Waller also has emergency Militarize waiting in the wings for a start.
Though he’s said previously he’d prefer Shinzo drawn off the fence he’s more than happy to take the inside marble with the colt, $14 with TAB on Thursday, in a high pressure Slipper.
“I see the Golden Slipper a little bit different to earlier races that he’s run in,’’ he said.
“They just run so quick, it won’t be a matter of whether he’s getting held up it’ll be a matter of whether he’s staying with them. I think that will give him galloping room.
“If anything I see it as advantage. It’s the shortest way home, he has a rail to follow and there’s less hustle and bustle when you’re down on the fence. If you’re in the middle of the field you’re getting jostled, if you’re out wide you’re covering extra ground.
“Just keep the horse comfortable will be the basic instruction. It was great to see him use his action in his last start.”
All three Waller-trained youngsters had a feel of the Rosehill course proper on Thursday morning and it was an opportunity for Ryan Moore to familiarize himself with the Coolmore colt.
Though for what it’s worth Waller said it probably wasn’t necessary for someone of Moore’s standing.
“It’s an honour to have Ryan here at Rosehill, he’s one of the leading riders in the world if not the leading rider in the world,’’ Waller said.
“That comes with great horsemanship, dedication, and results and it’s a great privilege to have him here.
“His work was just straightforward maintenance. All three of the horses have done plenty of work leading into this week and now it’s about keeping the horses nice and relaxed.
“He probably didn’t really need to ride the horse, he can get on and get off as you would be in a Formula One car and that’s probably similar to Shinzo.”
Ironically, the last horse to win the Slipper via the Pago Pago was Stratum who beat Shinzo’s sire Snitzel out of a place in 2005.
Lazzago is out to replicate Fireburn’s feat from last year having won the Sweet Embrace and Waller said she’s a little under the radar for a filly with form around Slipper second favourite Learning To Fly.
“Of the three of mine she is more the two-year-old type, the other two have three-year-old written all over them,’’ Waller said.
“She’s done a great job, she’s a real workhorse. Kerrin McEvoy was out here earlier in the week and he said that she’s as good as what they need to be to win a Golden Slipper so that was good enough for me.”
If Militarize gains a start Waller expects that colt to be finding the line strongly with a view to being a force in the Group 1 $1, Inglis Sires’ (1400m) in two weeks where he was $15 with TAB in all-in betting.
He ran third behind Cylinder and Red Resistance in the Todman Stakes after making a winning debut at Canterbury.
“If they go quick, from his draw he will drift back and blend in and he will finish off strong, he’ll set himself up for a big strong finish and set himself up for a Sires’ Produce,’’ he said.
– Racing NSW