Image: Steve Hart
Chris Waller will have two runners in the Golden Slipper after Shinzo confirmed his spot in the $5 million race with a stunning last-to-first victory in the Pago Pago Stakes.
The Coolmore-owned colt joins stablemate Lazzago in the world’s richest juvenile race and will be bidding to go two better than his dam Samaready, who finished third in Pierro’s Golden Slipper.
“He looks the real deal,” Waller said.
“Last start he got in the ruck and just didn’t get galloping room, he wasn’t really comfortable.
“Today, albeit going back to last, he had the chance to come around them and have clear air and I think that’s what he needed.”
Shinzo’s biggest hurdle could be recent history with only three winners of the Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) managing to back-up seven days later and claim the Slipper, Stratum in 2005 the most recent.
While Waller admits it is not ideal for a young horse to have such a quick turnaround, he believes Shinko has the temperament to handle it with the added bonus of both races being run on his home track of Rosehill.
“He is the most chilled out horse you could imagine,” Waller said.
“He’s got the physique to deal with it because he’s a nice roomy colt. I haven’t punished him to get here, he’s done it all naturally.”
Shinzo ($4.40) scored by 1-3/4 lengths over Maharba ($4 fav) with Bases Loaded ($6.50) another short head back in third.
Steel City ($3 fav) also secured her spot in the world’s richest juvenile race, leading throughout in a dominant Magic Night Stakes (1200m) performance to down Blanc De Blanc ($3.60) by 2-3/4 lengths.
The winner bumped into leading Slipper fancies Red Resistance and Learning To Fly at her first two starts then had no luck when unplaced in the Blue Diamond Stakes, her fortunes finally turning on Saturday, much to the relief of trainer Ciaron Maher.
“I was hoping that would happen last start but anyway, we’ll take it today,” Maher said.
“That happens sometimes in racing, hopefully it was all for the better, she pulls up well and we can make amends next week.”
Blanc De Blanc needed to win the Magic Night to propel her into the Slipper field and while she fell short, she tried her heart out after getting back from another wide draw.
“She has gone really well again. She’s a hard luck story,” jockey James Mcdonald said.
Kiamichi in 2019 was the last filly to claim the Magic Night Stakes-Golden Slipper double.
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