By Brad Gray
The Snowden camp will attack Royal Randwick with a strong team of seven runners on Saturday with six of them finishing first or second at their most recent outing.
The one outlier, having run fifth as favourite in the Group Two Skyline Stakes the last time we saw him, is million dollar colt Dracarys. However, the talented son of Snitzel, named after a Game Of Thrones phrase which translates to 'dragonfire', is one of the more interesting runners across the meeting.
The formidable combination of Snowden, Shinn and Harron rouses immediate expectations but co-trainer Paul Snowden will let the horse tell him where he progresses to and if he has a part to play over the early spring.
“He has only had two starts and both were on rain-affected tracks. He doesn’t like it. Just because he won on it doesn’t mean he likes it. It’s going to be nice to see him on firmer going,” Snowden said.
“He’s a nice horse and a lot more relaxed this time in. He isn’t going as hard as he did last preparation and has certainly grown up in the mind. He’s more mature that way and has furnished into a lovely horse.
“It’s good to get him back and where we’re going will be determined in his next couple of starts. We’ll be totally guided by the horse. It doesn’t matter how much you think of them, they’ve still got to do it on race day.”
The stable will also be represented in the race by Assimilate, who won impressively on debut at Kembla Grange but the penny still hasn’t quite dropped for the Sebring colt according to Snowden.
“He needed to go that grade as he does a lot wrong but he was good enough to get away with it.”
“Mentally he is going to derive a lot from the performance and the trip away. He is probably a preparation away from being the complete racehorse. We’ll soon know how much he has learnt from that first start.”
Spending To Win battled on bravely first-up after covering ground with the camp confident he can go one better when he lines up in the Schweppes Handicap (1200m).
“There was probably only one horse that could beat him and he followed him all of the way. (Kings Of Leon) had a run under his belt and collared him in the last two or three strides. He strips a bit fitter and as long as he runs up to that performance, he is certainly going to be in the mix again,” Snowden said.
Flying filly Cudabeen is chasing a hattrick and although she meets fellow speedsters Super Too and Star Crossed, Snowden says there are plenty of boxes ticked for the daughter of I Am Invincible.
“She was gifted a lovely run in front at Canterbury. They just let her lead as she wanted to before kicking away for a nice win. There looks to be some solid speed on paper with Super Too a free-rolling type so she’s got a plenty of competition but she’s down in the weights which will help her cause,” Snowden said.
“She doesn’t have to lead. The first start we had with her at Kembla she came from last so she is adaptable.”
Speaking of ticking boxes, evergreen sprinter That’s A Good Idea kicks off another preparation in the July Sprint (1100m).
“The track is the key to him. The firmer the better,” Snowden confessed.
“He is an honest performer. He is certainly going well, trialled well and is very forward. He likes to race up on the speed so he gets his chance there on Saturday. Quality-wise, it’s a field he hasn’t met for a very long time.
“The weight doesn’t worry me, it’s not an issue. He is a massive horse so he carries weight well.”
With Victorian galloper Del Prado already scratched, first emergency Steyne is assured a start in #TheRaces Handicap (1500m).
“His win was terrific at Canterbury the other day. They weren’t getting home from back in the field and he spotted them many lengths turning for home. He has freshen up lovely, has a soft draw and is down in the weights. He looks ideally placed,” Snowden said.
Rounding out the team, and the only Snowden runner at Randwick not in single figures with TAB Fixed Odds, is fast-finishing mare Secret Trail.
“She has had a good preparation and been ultra-consistent for her owners. She had that one flat run after she won at Canterbury on a heavy track. We put her up in grade and it might’ve been a little bit too soon for her. She bounced back down in class with a solid second at Warwick Farm last start.”