Golden Slipper Preview: Betting with and against Storm Boy

March 21st, 2024

The burgeoning stallion reputation of Triple Crown winner Justify could head further into the stratosphere when his Australian son #1 Storm Boy contests the world’s richest two-year-old race this weekend.

Rosehill, Race 8, 1:40 a.m. Saturday ET: Golden Slipper (G1), 1,200 meters (about six furlongs), two-year-olds

Storm Boy – with:

  • $30 win: #1 Storm Boy
  • 50-cent trifecta: 1 with 2, 6, 7, 9, 13, 14, 15 with 2, 6, 7, 9, 13, 14, 15

Storm Boy – against:

  • $10 win/$30 show: #7 Switzerland
  • 50-cent trifecta: 7, 13 with 1, 7, 13, 14 with 1, 2, 6, 7, 9, 13, 14, 15

Storm Boy is a short-priced favorite locally at odds around 7-5 to beat 15 opponents in the A$5 million (about $3.3 million) Golden Slipper (G1) at Rosehill Gardens in Sydney early Saturday U.S. time after four scintillating victories.

His efforts to date have been so impressive that he’s already been bought by Coolmore in a deal reportedly worth about A$50 million ($33 million) if he wins some of Australia’s major juvenile races in the next two months.

Chief among them is the Golden Slipper, the 1,200-meter (about six-furlong) dash which is the most important race to win for potential stallions in this speed-oriented Thoroughbred jurisdiction.

As most North American racing followers know, Justify has made a great start at stud. What’s just as interesting is that they’ve been equally good on turf, a surface Justify never raced on, as on dirt. In addition to his top-line dirt runners Arabian Lion and Just F Y I, he’s the sire of the champion European juvenile colt and filly of last year, City of Troy and Opera Singer respectively, as well as Hard to Justify (Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf [G1]) and Aspen Grove (Belmont Oaks [G1]).

The genes of Justify’s top-class sire Scat Daddy may be key here; many of Scat Daddy’s top performers excelled on the grass.

Justify also sired the second favorite in last year’s Golden Slipper, Learning To Fly, but she had a horror race in which she missed the start and then lost her rider halfway through.

Golden Slippers are difficult to win with an outside barrier draw, so Storm Boy’s team would have been thrilled when he drew gate 2. With Ryan Moore, who won the race last year on Shinzo, flying in to ride, he has plenty in his favor.

His chief danger is probably another unbeaten colt, #7 Switzerland, currently at about 7-2. He’s also in Coolmore ownership and is by Snitzel, the sire of last year’s winner Shinzo. He has a decent draw of 7 and loses nothing in jockeyship as he has the services of James McDonald.

Unlike Northern Hemisphere championship juvenile races, fillies take on the colts in top two-year-old races, and they have a good record in this race. There are two good ones here in #13 Hayasugi and #14 Lady of Camelot, who beat the colts in Melbourne’s premier juvenile contest, the Blue Diamond (G1).

Hayasugi is badly disadvantaged with the outside barrier but one; she tends to settle back and rally, but may well get caught wide. Lady of Camelot, from the same Gai Waterhouse-Adrian Bott stable as Storm Boy, is better placed with gate 5.

Waterhouse and Bott have another couple of decent chances in the form of #2 Fully Lit and #6 Straight Charge, while others worth considering for exotics include #9 Dublin Down and #15 Manaal.

So, is Storm Boy so good that he’s worth anchoring in exotics? It’s a difficult question: Storm Boy is clearly very good, but Golden Slippers are notoriously difficult for favorites to win. The last market leader to win the race was 6-4 shot Vancouver in 2015.

If you want to support Storm Boy, you may wish to do so heavily, and spread your options around for exotics. If you want to take him on, Switzerland definitely appeals as the best option, though Hayasugi may well be at odds longer than she should be.