Home » Gun colts set to contest Pierro Plate at Randwick

Gun colts set to contest Pierro Plate at Randwick

Gun colts set to contest Pierro Plate at Randwick

The juvenile action is set to ramp up a notch at Randwick with two of the top three fancies in Golden Slipper betting preparing for a showdown in the Pierro Plate.

Unbeaten colt Shangri La Express will launch his campaign in the 1100 metre race, putting him on a collision course with Switzerland, an outstanding debut winner last month.

Switzerland has drawn parallels with last year’s Golden Slipper winner Shinzo, also a son of Snitzel who is prepared by the same trainer in Chris Waller and raced by the same owners in Coolmore.

Notoriously patient with his young horses, Waller isn’t getting caught up in the hype and says his sole focus has been on preparing Switzerland to the best of his ability.

“I have one job and that is to get him to the races,” Waller said.

“I can’t change the opposition, I can’t make them run fast, but I can get him there in the best possible shape.

“I get his first-up win was very good. He has trained on well so that is a good sign.”

After opening an equal $2.30 favourite with Shangri La Express, Snitzerland has firmed into $1.90 to be an outright top pick.

Shangri La Express initially eased to $2.60 before being supported back into $2.30 with betting sites.

The latter was spelled after posting a strong win in the Golden Gift in November, defeating Rue De Royale who franked the form with a closing second in last Saturday’s $2 million Inglis Millennium.

Regan Bayliss has retained the mount on Shangri La Express after partnering him to his two wins, while James Mcdonald has his first race ride on Switzerland.

It will give McDonald a unique insight into the top echelon two-year-olds with the champion hoop putting Slipper favourite Storm Boy through his paces in a Rosehill barrier trial on Thursday while also being confirmed as the star colt’s rider in next month’s Skyline Stakes.

Like Switzerland, Storm Boy is raced by Coolmore after they secured a majority share in the Magic Millions winner earlier this week.

Meanwhile, Waller confirmed Shinzo was shaping well in his autumn preparations ahead of a scheduled return early next month, most likely in the Group 1 Canterbury Stakes (1300m) at Randwick.

“He has come back bigger and stronger,” Waller said of Shinzo.

“We’re pretty solid on the Canterbury Stakes (and we are) trying to get an indication on what weight he’d get in the Newmarket. History tells you first-up in the Newmarket is not easy.”

The Newmarket Handicap (1200m) is at Flemington, also on March 9.