By Ray Hickson
Emerging stayer Emperor’s Way is a classic case of a horse going through his grades that hasn’t reached his mark yet and that’s something trainer Peter Snowden is keen to find out this preparation.
The four-year-old, unplaced only twice in 15 starts, began his summer campaign in a Benchmark 67 and ended it a four-time city winner and a Listed winner.
With his rating now up to 96, Emperor’s Way begins the next phase in the Listed $150,000 Winter Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
“He was winning at a soft time of year but winning well and overcoming difficulties and winning,’’ Snowden said.
“He’s come back a big stronger and has a pedigree that suggests he will get better as he gets older.
“If he keeps getting better he might measure up to something in the spring. At this stage I’m looking at the Wyong Cup, whether we go further time will tell.’’
Emperor’s Way hasn’t missed a place when fresh in the past and has been kept safe with TAB at $10.
He’s had two trials, standing out in the second, and strikes his preferred dry surface so Snowden said there’s every chance he’ll be competitive as usual.
Emperor's Way finishes strongly into third in his Randwick trial on June 29
“His first trial was a soft one and had a bit of a squeeze in his second one,’’ he said.
“Good horses always run well and there’s no reason why he won’t first-up. It’s probably well short of his best trip but I wouldn’t rule him out, he’s a horse that has some quality.
“I’m not sure how far he gets, whether it’s 1800m to 2000m or a bit further than that. Until we find that out we won’t go up the ladder too quickly.’’
The Premier’s Cup Prelude (1800m) at Rosehill on August 11 is likely to be the next step for Emperor’s Way while the Wyong Gold Cup (2100m) is run on August 31.
While Snowden is positive about Emperor’s Way’s chances first-up and for the future, he’s somewhat bullish that stablemate Gold Symphony is the forgotten horse of the Winter Stakes.
Gold Symphony was a beaten favourite in last year’s edition on the back of his 2017 Civic Stakes win, his most recent success, but Snowden said his seventh in the 2018 Civic was better than it looks.
“His run was very good the other day,’’ he said.
“Not many people probably noticed but both his runs this time in have been good. His run the other day, he went right back to last and had to make a long sustained run.
“Off a better draw, 1400m is his right trip, he’s there to run a big race.’’
The gelding ran the third fastest last 600m of the Civic in 35.46 according to Punters Intel. He’s a $21 chance with TAB and has Hugh Bowman to ride.
Comments from Peter Snowden on Level Eight ($13) and Smartedge ($6) in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1200m):
“Level Eight likes the sting out of the ground and 1400m is his right trip but fresh he will run well.
“Smartedge should do something there. He’s definitely in with a good chance.’’