By Ray Hickson
Everest hero Redzel returns to the scene of his greatest win at Randwick on Saturday and trainer Peter Snowden is expecting it to be triumphant.
Despite a first-up defeat in Melbourne and the Group 2 $500,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m) not being Plan A, Snowden said the race now fits in perfectly as he eyes The Championships’ premiere weight-for-age Group 1 next month.
He had considered both the Newmarket at Flemington this weekend and the William Reid at Moonee Valley later this month but said connections are very one-eyed about the $2.5m TJ Smith Stakes.
And even moreso about defending their Everest crown later this year.
“The reason we came back was to get him ready for the TJ and if you go to Melbourne again it's another trip to factor in,’’ he said.
“It is back around his preferred corner, that style of racing suits him perfectly and he loves Randwick. They'll know he's there on Saturday.’’
Redzel is the dominant $1.50 favourite with TAB to take out the Challenge, a race his sire Snitzel won in 2006, and has eight rivals including classy mare English who is seeking three straight wins in the Group 2 event.
Snowden said he wasn’t disappointed in Redzel’s performance in the Black Caviar Lightning despite being nabbed near the line by Redkirk Warrior.
“To me his run was fantastic, the time was good and his sectionals were very good,’’ he said.
“He just knuckled over at the start but he got going quickly and travelled well.
“If we had the race again, after watching it 50 times, Kerrin (McEvoy) may have held up another 50m. He thought he had them all beaten around him.
“The winner had the slingshot off the back and got him on the line. We can't be disappointed, yeah he got beaten but he still ran terrifically.’’
Redzel worked at Randwick on Tuesday in what Snowden described was his “typical Tuesday work’’ and the track condition come Saturday won’t be a factor in his performance.
“It was good solid work with good splits and Kerrin said he worked really well and pulled up even better,’’ he said.
“He's shown he can run as good on the wet as he can on dry, that's the best part about him his versatility.’’
Bondi downs Performer in a barrier trial at Randwick on February 27
Snowden said both the stable’s youngsters in the Group 2 $400,000 Todman Stakes (1200m), Bondi and Tchaikovsky, are in good order though he may split the pair with one running in the Black Opal at Canberra on Sunday.
He clearly has an opinion of Tchaikovsky, who started $4.60 on debut running fifth to Santos in the Pierro Plate, but concedes he’s running out of time to get him into the Golden Slipper.
“I think he is a very exciting colt, I do like the horse but he lacks a bit of race savvy,’’ Snowden said.
“It's coming against him at a time of year when you need it. If he doesn't make the Slipper field he's a horse to follow later on.
“I'm happy with the way Bondi trialled, he's come on nicely since the Magic Millions and he's in good order.’’