Waller Favours A Focus On Slipper With Switzerland

Champion trainer Chris Waller wants to give exciting colt his best chance to win next month’s $5m Golden Slipper and that means he’ll likely pass on Saturday’s Inglis Millennium.

Trainer Chris Waller (Pic: Bradley Photos)

It’s a big call to miss a $2 million race, especially considering he’d potentially start favourite on the back of his dominant debut win, but Waller is wary the youngster is trying to win a Golden Slipper on one preparation.

The task is hardly unprecedented, though, as Waller did it a year ago with Shinzo who made his debut at a similar time to Switzerland.

“It’s a hard decision to make, we fully respect the prizemoney of the race,’’ Waller said.

“But if he’s to get to a Golden Slipper he is going to have to do it in one prep and I just feel two weeks after his first-up run isn’t really fair on the horse.

“If I go three weeks into his second-up run, then three weeks into his third-up run and then we can go two weeks into the Slipper.

“It’s a hard one but I’ve just put the money aside and said, ‘what do I do for the horse?’ and that’s what we’re doing.”

Switzerland is $3.50 equal favourite with Fully Lit for the Inglis Millennium with nominations closing on Monday and the final field declared on Tuesday morning.

Waller’s timing means the Coolmore owned colt will likely run in the Pierro Plate (1100m) at Randwick on February 17 then the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) as his final Slipper lead up.

“He’s done really well but with two-year-olds, we’re still learning about them, he’s learning about things, we’ve just got to give him every possible chance,’’ he said.

“It’s hard doing it off one prep. If he’d run before Christmas, it’s a different ball game, you can play around a bit, back them up, do all sorts of things.

“But you just can’t do anything wrong.

“Shinzo got there in the last week, this horse is pretty sharp and pretty responsive, whereas Shinzo was all class and just got there in time.”

The reigning Golden Slipper champion will kick off his autumn preparation this week, either in a Rosehill trial on Monday or at Randwick on Thursday.

Waller plans to start the three-year-old, who contested the TAB Everest and ran third in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes in the spring, in either the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes on March 9 against Everest champion Think About It or in the Newmarket Handicap in Melbourne on the same day.

“He’s in the trials on Monday but he has done pretty well and he might need one more gallop. I galloped him (Friday) and he had a good blow, he might just need one more,’’ he said.

The Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) on Saturday week could be the surprise kick off point for three-time Group 1 winner Militarize.

It was expected the colt would commence his autumn in the Group 3 Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200m) at Randwick this Saturday but the Apollo appeals to Waller as a smoother path to the Group 1 Randwick Guineas.

– Racing NSW

Share this article