Home » J-Mac stoked to be on Switzerland in Golden Slipper: ‘I’m happy’

J-Mac stoked to be on Switzerland in Golden Slipper: ‘I’m happy’

J-Mac stoked to be on Switzerland in Golden Slipper: ‘I’m happy’

Sydney’s champion jockey James McDonald believes he’s still on the horse to beat in the $5 million TAB Golden Slipper despite losing the ride on favourite Storm Boy.

McDonald stays on the Chris Waller-trained Switzerland after owners Coolmore confirmed jockeys for their unbeaten colts in the world’s richest juvenile race.

English superstar Ryan Moore will return to Sydney to ride Storm Boy in the rich Rosehill race on Saturday week.

Moore won the Golden Slipper for Coolmore on Shinzo last year.

McDonald has ridden both colts to brilliant last start wins – Storm Boy in the Skyline Stakes and Switzerland in the Todman Stakes – but said he was happy to ride either two-year-old in the Golden Slipper.

“We left it to Coolmore, they make the decisions,” McDonald said.

“I’m pretty happy to be on Switzerland, it’s not like he’s an outsider.

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“I do a lot of riding for Chris Waller and it only makes sense to stick with Switzerland anyway as I have had a lot to do with him at trackwork and races.

“Knowing Chris’s style, he will have this colt ready to rip on Golden Slipper Day, don’t worry about that.”

McDonald also put the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Storm Boy through his paces in a crucial exhibition gallop between races at Wednesday’s Kensington meeting and said he can’t fault the juvenile sensation.

“Storm Boy is going beautifully,” McDonald said. “He felt excellent and he is right on track for the Golden Slipper.”

In TAB Fixed Odds betting, Storm Boy has been the long-time Golden Slipper favourite and is at $2.30 ahead of Switzerland at $4.50 then it is $13 the field with the exception of $9 chance Straight Charge.

Coolmore made the final decision on the Golden Slipper rides for McDonald and Moore, regarded by many as the world’s two best jockeys, so it was a win-win situation for the global racing and breeding superpower.

Tom Magnier, the Coolmore Australia supremo, the trainers and owners of both two-year-olds were consulted before announcing their Golden Slipper jockeys on Thursday.

When asked if Moore or McDonald had any say, Magnier replied: “No, not really.”

“In fairness to them both, they were very happy to ride either horse. There was no bias there at all,” Magnier said.

“After the Golden Slipper, Ryan will go back to Europe and James will be riding both colts. He will have the call (if they clash).”

Magnier conceded McDonald’s knowledge of Switzerland and his position as Waller’s main stable jockey was “a factor, but not the determining factor.”

“James does a lot of work with Chris and he has been riding Switzerland for a long time,” Magnier said.

“But we have two horses that are going to be hugely competitive in the race, and we have two world-class riders.s

“This is horse racing and we realise anything can happen particularly in a Golden Slipper but we are very fortunate to be in this position with two such exciting colts.”

Storm Boy will be worth $60 million if he can win the Golden Slipper then clean sweep the Triple Crown by taking out the Inglis Sires and Champagne Stakes next month.

Switzerland could also be worth a similar amount if he won the Golden Slipper and was placed on the open market but Coolmore will almost certainly stand both colts on their stud’s stallion roster when they eventually retire from racing.

“Storm Boy is by Justify and was bred on our farm and then we have a colt with the pedigree and looks of Switzerland,” Magnier said.

“We all dreamt of the Golden Slipper as a kid and winning with Shinzo last year was very exciting. It’s wonderful to be in with a chance to win this race again.”