By Julieanne Horsman
It’s a long trip from Sydney to Grafton for just one race but trainers Peter and Paul Snowden believe it’ll be worth it.
Their two talented gallopers, Calanda and Flippant, will line up in the $160,000 Listed Ramornie Handicap on Wednesday and Paul has declared them “both solid chances to win.” “They’ve both come back from the Brisbane Carnival in good order and have pleased us with their work,” he said.
“The Grafton Carnival wasn’t necessarily part of the plan and the decision to come up was performance based.”
Calanda will head into Wednesday’s race off the back of a strong win in a Benchmark 93 race over 1100m at Rosehill Gardens on 1st July.
The three-year-old gelding travelled midfield most of the way, hit the front with less than 100m to go and finished a 1.3 lengths ahead of Sir Plush. In his previous start, Sir Plush beat home Badajoz who opened as favourite for the Ramornie.
“I was good to see him recapture his winning form after his luckless run in Brisbane,” Snowden said.
“He has drawn well and the conditions on Wednesday suit, so there is no reason why he can’t keep up the momentum.”
Jim Byrne, who is currently second in the Brisbane Jockeys Premiership, will partner Calanda who opened at $4.60 on TAB Fixed Odds.
Stablemate Flippant opened at $7 and came into $6 within a couple of hours. The four-year-old mare boasts a record of five wins and three places from 16 starts, including a win over 1200m in the Listed MSS Security Sprint at Flemington on Melbourne Cup day last year.
She hit the line three lengths behind Burning Passion in the Group 3 Healy Stakes at Doomben last start, but Snowden explained the way the race unfolded didn’t suit her.
“She is proven to be better when she races near the leaders and since they went at warped speed, she couldn’t keep up but still managed to get home OK,” he said.
“With the good draw, we are looking to place her in the first four or five on Wednesday.
“She is a big mare who gets fitter with every race.”
All Flippant’s wins have come on a good track and Grafton is currently rated a Good 4.
Peter Snowden has won the Ramornie several times, the most recent in 2011 with Jerezana, but if either Flippant or Calanda get up on Wednesday, it will be the first time he has won in partnership with Paul.