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An undefeated son of Justify, recently the subject of a massive stud deal, is the hot favorite for the world's richest 2-year-old race, Friday night's AU$5 million Golden Slipper at Rosehill.  

STORM BOY winning the KIA ORA PRAGUE HANDICAP at Rosehill in Australia.
STORM BOY winning the KIA ORA PRAGUE HANDICAP at Rosehill in Australia. Picture: Steve Hart

By Michael Wrona
Thursday, 21 March 2024

Storm Boy is expected to give trainer Gai Waterhouse a record-extending eighth victory in the showpiece juvenile event, with Ryan Moore jetting in to ride Coolmore's AU$50 million acquisition. The Golden Slipper is one of five Group/Grade 1 races of exceptional depth on a 10-race card, which boasts an average field size of 14 (not counting Also Eligibles). First post at Rosehill this Friday is set for 9.15 p.m. Eastern, 6.15 p.m. Pacific and will be simulcast live around North America by Sky Racing World.

Storm Boy was attracting interest from stud farms even before debuting in December (the southern hemisphere season begins in August). After a pair of impressive wins yielded "key" form lines and strong speed ratings, the Justify colt went to another level in the Magic Millions at the Gold Coast. Burning the candle at both ends from an awkward gate while sending "ratings experts" into a frenzy, his performance ignited a full-blown bidding war for breeding rights. Coolmore's offer prevailed, intricately structured to ensure that the original owners, who bought the bay colt for AU$460,000 and have retained a minority share, will benefit from increased stud value based on future racetrack performances. "We are extremely excited to secure Storm Boy with a great group of clients and friends from all over the world," said Coolmore's Tom Magnier. "His performance in the Magic Millions had to be seen to be believed. He broke his opponents' hearts in a similar way to what Justify did." Returning after seven weeks, Storm Boy remained perfect by winning his March 1 prep race for the AU$5 million Golden Slipper. Any glimmer of optimism his opponents might have held was extinguished when the 6-5 favorite drew a coveted inside gate (2) at Rosehill's tricky 6-furlong starting point. For the second consecutive year, Coolmore has called upon the services of global riding star Ryan Moore, who delivered them the 2023 "Slipper" aboard Shinzo. Coolmore also owns the 4-1 second wagering choice, Switzerland, trained by Chris Waller who enjoyed his first Golden Slipper triumph courtesy of Shinzo.



While Waller has been Sydney's dominant trainer of the past decade, he is well behind Storm Boy's trainer, Gai Waterhouse, in Golden Slipper wins. The inimitable Waterhouse, dubbed the "First Lady of Australian racing," is – literally – a national treasure. Daughter of legendary trainer Tommy Smith, for whom the G1 TJ Smith Stakes is named during The Championships at Randwick next month, Waterhouse took over her ailing father's stable in the early 1990s. While amassing 159 Group/Grade 1 wins (Waller has 157), Gai eclipsed her father's record of six Golden Slippers – her seventh came since forming a training partnership with Adrian Bott seven years ago. The colorful, charismatic, outspoken and eternally optimistic 69-year-old was inducted into the Australian Racing Hall of Fame in 2007 and is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including being recognized as a National Living Treasure by the National Trust of Australia. Waterhouse has been a powerhouse of juvenile talent in recent seasons, and trains six of the Golden Slipper's 16-strong field (plus the Also Eligible; and including the best-fancied of four fillies, 9-1 third wagering choice Lady of Camelot). 

Seasoned veterans of Sydney racing are declaring this year's Golden Slipper program unmatched in depth and quality. The other four Group/Grade 1s are:

  • The Ranvet Stakes (Race 5) at 1-1/4 miles for 3YO&up, run at weight-for-age. Top-class Australian 8-year-old Think It Over is challenged by several well-credentialed Euro invaders.
  • The Rosehill Guineas (Race 6) at 1-1/4 miles for 3YOs. Entries include four G1 winners; a lightly raced G2 winner of enormous potential named Immediacy, unbeaten in three starts; and five other horses with graded stakes placings.
  • The George Ryder Stakes (Race 7) at 7-1/2 furlongs for 3YO&up, run at weight-for-age. Think About It, winner of this season's The Everest (world's richest turf race), tackles his longest assignment.
  • The Galaxy (Race 9) at 5-1/2 furlongs for 3YO&up, run under handicap conditions. Exciting 3YO sprinter Ozzmosis, a winner of four from five career starts and prominent in future book wagering for next season's The Everest, takes on elders for the first time.
  • The Golden Slipper, forecast to result in a perfect "Storm" despite sunny conditions, is carded as Race 8 at 10.40 p.m. Pacific.  

The Rosehill card will be broadcast live on FanDuel TV this Friday night (First Post: 9.15 p.m. ET / 6.15 p.m. PT) alongside cards from Eagle Farm, Kembla Grange and Gold Coast. All races will be live-streamed in HD on theSky Racing World App, and major ADW platforms such as TVG, TwinSpires, Xpressbet, NYRABets, WatchandWager, HPIbet, FanDuel and AmWager. Wagering is also available via these ADW platforms. Fans can get free access to live-streaming, past performances, and expert picks on all races at 


About Michael Wrona 

A native of Brisbane, Australia, Michael Wrona has called races in six countries. Michael's vast U.S. experience includes; race calling at Los Alamitos, Hollywood Park, Arlington and Santa Anita, calling the 2000 Preakness on a national radio network and the 2016 Breeders' Cup on the International simulcast network. Michael also performed a race call voiceover for a Seinfeld episode called The Subway.

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