By Frances O'Shea
Winning the Greg Cribb Memorial Red Crown Handicap has always been an annual goal for Peter Snowden since its inception in 2009. The stable has won the race honouring Snowden’s late brother in law, five times.
But if victory comes their way this Sunday they will claim an interesting record. Californiasurprise took out the 2017 version for Peter and Paul Snowden on debut in November last year.
With the $22,000 race rescheduled to June, Snowden has the two-year-old filly backing up in her second Greg Cribb Memorial, seven months later.
Success will see her become the first and possibly only horse to take out the race twice. And Snowden considers the I Am Invincible filly is primed for another victory.
“Placement of the race changed from last year so she gets an opportunity to try and do it again,” Snowden said. “She’s had two runs in Melbourne and we freshened her up before a Kembla start where she went really well.
“This is her fourth run this time in. She’s going along nicely and back in a bit of class will help. She’s in good order and I expect her to run well.”
Winona Costin, who rode Californiasurprise to victory in November, will again team up with the filly on Sunday. The race has attracted a field of seven runners and will kick off the seven-race program at 12:55pm.
Snowden’s hopes of having his first runner in the other feature race, the $22,000 Shorty Cribb Aberdeen Cup, honouring his late father-in-law, were dashed. Suspense, a family owned five-year-old, with Snowden opting not to run the horse with 66kg.
“I’ve never had a runner in the race and I was hoping this would be the year,” he said. "I’ve been trying hard to get a runner every year but I just can’t get the right horse to go up there. They are either not quite good enough or a bit like him, his benchmark is a little bit high.”
Nine horses will contest the Cup with the Tony Newing-trained King Lear the likely favourite. Snowden will saddle up two-year-old Helaku in the 1280m Maiden and considers the gelding a chance.
“He’s had two runs one at Wyong and one at Kembla, and both of those have been solid,” he said. “He’s still learning but I really want to give him a trip away.”
The stable also has Californiabird resuming in the 1280m Class 2 and believe the resuming three-year-old should run well first-up, following trials at Randwick and Rosehill. Snowden said the day, honouring his wife Lyn’s father and brother, held great significance and the family would be trackside on Sunday.
“It’s just one day of the year when we really remember Greg. We never forget him that’s for sure but it’s the day we can honour him with the race which is fantastic. We added my father-in-law when he passed away so it’s very special for us all.”
RACE 1 (12.55pm): GREG CRIBB MEMORIAL RED CROWN HANDICAP (900m): 1 CALIFORNIASURPRISE, 2 Monet, 3 Mimic, 4 Peggy’s Time.
RACE 2 (1.30pm): SILKS FUNCTION CENTRE 3YO & UP MAIDEN PLATE (900m): 1 WRONGFULLY WRONG, 2 Foxy Queen, 3 Scuba Steve, 4 Grand Acheeva.
RACE 3 (2.05pm): PIRTEK MUSWELLBROOK MAIDEN HANDICAP (1280m): 1 HELAKU, 2 Whitsunday, 3 Fort Jackson, 4 Lithely.
RACE 4 (2.40pm): STAR TURN @ VINERY STUD BENCHMARK 65 HANDICAP (1500m): 1 LADY ELIZABETH, 2 Nadacheva, 3 Hot Pistol, 4 Bochy.
RACE 5 (3.15pm): BHIMA THOROUGHBREDS CLASS 1 & MAIDEN PLATE (1750m): 1 LUDDENHAM LASS, 2 Rock Sonic, 3 Polar Blast, 4 Marfaz.
RACE 6 (3.50pm): SHORTY CRIBB ABERDEEN CUP (1280m): 1 KING LEAR, 2 All Summer Long, 3 Barricade, 4 Your Witness.
RACE 7 (4.25pm): DIMMOCKS QUALITY MEATS CLASS 2 HANDICAP (1280m): 1 CALIFORNIAFIREBIRD, 2 Island Grange, 3 Stellara, 4 Bold Dapper.