Waterhouse-Bott colt Charges into 2024 Golden Slipper contention

Golden Slipper favourite Storm Boy might be waiting until next week to serve a reminder of his talents, but two of his stablemates have done their Slipper chances no harm with outstanding performances at Rosehill.

Straight Charge ($2.45 fav) turned the tables on Breeders’ Plate conqueror Espionage ($2.80) to dazzle in Saturday’s Silver Slipper (1100m) at Rosehill, leading for most of the race and holding out his barn mate by 1-1/4 lengths, while Erno’s Cube ($7) did best of the rest, another 2-1/2 lengths away.

Co-trainer Adrian Bott was thrilled the see the winner return so well after he missed the Magic Millions Classic with a virus.

“I was heartbroken we didn’t get to see him go up to the Magic Millions, he’s such a great talent, but he’s back here today to showcase it and it was a very impressive win,” Bott said.

“He has been a natural two-year-old all the way through, from the minute we did anything with him he has shown that natural brilliance, that great early speed and good, sustained speed.

“I think he enjoyed the conditions and there is still a bit of improvement to come.”

Straight Charge gave Bott’s training partner Gai Waterhouse her seventh win in the Silver Slipper and second with Bott, her winners invariably going on to run well in the juvenile showpiece.

Both Pierro (2012) and Farnan (2020) won both races while all of Waterhouse’s other Silver Slipper winners went on to place in the Group 1, except for Amelia’s Dream who broke down and didn’t race again.

While full of praise for the winner, Bott was also buoyed by the effort of Espionage, who was having his first run since October and didn’t appear as comfortable on the rain-affected conditions.

“That extra grounding and the campaign that Straight Charge had in between, that may have been the difference today,” Bott said.

“I do think the ground was also slightly against Espionage.

“Back on top of the ground I think we’ll see further improvement.”

The pair will have one more run in the Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on March 9 before heading to the Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill two weeks later.

“That will have them fit, hard and ready for the Golden Slipper so every intention we see them both again,” Bott said.

Bott confirmed Storm Boy would run next week in the Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.

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