Storm Tightens Grip On Slipper With Skyline Romp

Storm Boy has tightened his grip on favouritism for the $5m TAB Golden Slipper in three weeks on the back of another comfortable win at Randwick.

And co-trainer Adrian Bott declared the Triple Crown dream remains alive setting up a potentially lucrative autumn for the owners who sold the colt to Coolmore in a deal worth up to $60 million dollars if he also claims the Inglis Sires’ and Champagne Stakes.

Adrian Bott (Pic: Bradley Photos).

In extending his winning run to four with a predictable performance in the Group 2 $300,000 Catanach’s Jewellers Skyline Stakes (1200m) he firmed from $2.80 into $2.30 favourite for the March 23 two-year-old classic.

The Magic Millions winner will be aiming to become the first Skyline victor to claim the Slipper since Dance Hero, who his preparation has been modelled on, in 2004 and Bott said he’s on target.

“It’s always a little bit nerve wracking seeing these profile horses come back off that turnaround,” Bott said.

“It has been a big trip away for him, but he’s had a good campaign.

“He is back in good shape, with the conditions today, he had to ride those but I think he certainly did enough and we’ve left some nice improvement to come.

“He’s got a high cruising speed, he looked in full control from the outset, then he can find more levels and keep quickening off that and he looked in good shape going to the line.”

It was yet another quinella for the Gai Waterhouse/Adrian Bott two-year-old army, following the Silver Slipper one-two last week, as Prost managed to be best of the rest about 1-1/2 lengths away.

The main decisions to be made regarding Storm Boy’s path to the Golden Slipper is whether he’s given a barrier trial, as Dance Hero was, in between and who rides the colt – does James McDonald keep the saddle or will Coolmore vault Ryan Moore into the seat.

“We’ve had to prepare for the Golden Slipper, but we’ve got big targets for the Triple Crown as well,’’ Bott said.

“I’d like to think he is only going to be better suited getting over the 1400, 1600 metres in time. It’s very exciting for everyone involved.

“Everything has gone to plan and I don’t think we need to be changing too much.”

Prost did his best to chase Storm Boy down but obviously was no match, though Bott said there’s still upside to him and will deserve his place in the Slipper.

“We saw some improvement off that first-up run from him and that should hopefully be enough to qualify him for the Slipper,’’ he said.

“He ran a big race and is well and truly on target as well.”

The Waterhouse/Bott two-year-old juggernaut continues next weekend with Straight Charge, Espionage and Shangri La Express taking on another Coolmore colt in Switzerland in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m).

What the jockey said:

James McDonald (Storm Boy): “He’s as good as you get. He’s strong, he knows he’s really good and the more you ask him the more he keeps giving.

“You don’t get many fields coming up the rise and quickening like he does by himself. If feel like if one joined him he would go again.

“He just idled. You could see him down the middle of the track, fishtailed a little bit through greenness but there is so much more to come and that is the scary thing about him.

“Fitness-wise he’s going to improve so I felt like he leveled out over the last 50 metres. The most impressive thing is I think he’s got more to come and more to give.

“Until he gets into a high pressure race, I think that is when you’ll see a fair dinkum horse. He felt like he could rip away and he’s got more to give.

“He’s got the constitution of a big strong boy, he’s got the lungs on him. It felt like i was going fast up the rise and he goes faster. It is an incredible feeling.”

– Racing NSW

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