Home » Switzerland stuns in Todman Stakes as James McDonald faces wait on Golden Slipper ride

Switzerland stuns in Todman Stakes as James McDonald faces wait on Golden Slipper ride

Switzerland stuns in Todman Stakes as James McDonald faces wait on Golden Slipper ride

Coolmore is set to decide as early as Monday who rides their unbeaten colts, Storm Boy and Switzerland, in the $5m TAB Golden Slipper.

Sydney’s reigning premier jockey James McDonald has ridden both the brilliant two-year-olds to easy last-start wins, combining with Switzerland to win the Group 2 $300,000 Todman Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

But England’s superstar jockey Ryan Moore is returning to Sydney to ride for Coolmore in the Golden Slipper at Rosehill on March 23 – but for which colt?

Coolmore Australia supremo Tom Magnier revealed a meeting is planned for Monday but conceded it will be a tough decision to determined the riders for Storm Boy and Switzerland.

“We have to go home and think about our jockeys,” Magnier said.

“Ryan’s awake at home watching this race right now. I could feel my phone buzzing after the race which was probably him.

“But we have two world-class horses and two world-class jockeys so it’s a great problem to have.”

McDonald, who also rode the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Storm Boy to a runaway Skyline Stakes win last week, was noncommittal when asked his choice of ride for the Golden Slipper after winning on Switzerland.

“It does make the decision harder – and two different camps as well,” McDonald said.

“We’ll see how it all plays out but at the end of the day, they have the final call and they’ll put the rider on who they think suits the horse.

“Switzerland is a proper racehorse. He just keeps turning up. Storm Boy is completely different. He’s a big beast of a colt and he’s got so much character and enthusiasm about everything.”

Hall of Fame trainer Chris Waller, who combined with Moore to win the Golden Slipper with the Coolmore-owned Shinzo last year, is prepared to wait for the owners to make the call.

“I’m very lucky to be training for so many great owners, including Coolmore. The beauty of that is they’re well organised and they’ll make their decision,” Waller said.

Switzerland ($3.60) scored his third win from as many starts when he powered home late to run down Straight Charge ($2.80 favourite) to win the Todman Stakes by a length in a slick 1min 09.39sec.

Shangri La Express ($14) was a length and a quarter away third, just in front of Bodyguard and Espionage.

James McDonald and Coolmore Australia boss Tom Magnier deep in conversation. Picture: Jeremy Ng/Getty Images

Magnier said it is exciting to have two such outstanding, well-bred colts going into the Golden Slipper, which is regarded as the ultimate stallion-making race

“Gai and Adrian, and Chris Waller have done a great job with our colts,” Magnier said.

“To be fair to Chris he has always said he is a horse that is getting there. He has him picture perfect at the moment, very similar to Shinzo last year.

“If you saw him before in the yard, he looked a million dollars so full credit to Chris and his team.

“To have two colts like this going into the Golden Slipper is very exciting. It’s very hard to split them.”

TAB fixed odds price assessors have Storm Boy as the $2.30 favourite with Switzerland firming from $6 to $4.50 with Straight Charge the only other runner under double figures at $9.

Waller said the Todman Stakes field was as good as he had seen leading into the Golden Slipper adding merit to Switzerland’s win.

“It makes the next two weeks that little bit easier to know you’re on target. For a coach, it makes it a little bit easier,” Waller said.

“If you’re running second and thirds you’re scratching your head and wondering, what do I have to do to get a bit of improvement out of a horse. What I will be doing for the next two weeks is keeping things simple.”

Waller said Shinzo got to the Golden Slipper “at the last minute” but Switzerland’s preparation has been “more planned”.

“Switzerland had kept improving with each run and putting on a bit of weight, strengthening up nicely and enjoying himself, which is the most important thing for any horse,” he said.

In the fillies division, the Group 2 $300,000 Reisling Stakes (1200m), the reliable Erno’s Cube may have done enough to qualify for the Golden Slipper with a tough win.

Erno’s Cube ($3.70), ridden by Jason Collett, wore down Silmarillion ($4.60) to win by a head with early leader Too Darn Lizzie ($3.10 favourite) a long head away third. The winner stopped the clock at 1min 10.66sec, which was 1.27sec slower than Switzerland’s Todman Stakes.

Trainer Ciaron Maher will give serious consideration to giving Erno’s Cube her chance in the Golden Slipper.

Erno’s Cube has been in work basically all season, making her debut in the Gimcrack Stakes back in September when eighth to Manaal.

She had her sixth start in the Reisling, scoring her second win and taking her career earnings to over $470,000.

Maher was at Flemington on Saturday but his Sydney stable manager Johann Gerard-Dubord said Erno’s Cube is “still improving physically”.

“We will see how she comes through it first, obviously the Slipper is always tempting, but the boys seem to be better than the fillies this year.

“She’d gone two weeks from the Silver Slipper, so the right thing to do would be to give her a bit of time and go to the Percy Sykes, but we’ll see how she comes through it. It’s a discussion to have also now she is a Group Two winner.

“She has been going for a long time, she’s had a little freshen between races but she seems to handle her racing very well.”