By Ray Hickson
He was one of the Snowden stable’s pre-Christmas two-year-old stars and Inglis Nursery winner Wild Ruler is ready to pick up where he left off at Randwick on Saturday.
Co-trainer Peter Snowden said the colt has had a faultless preparation for his return in the Cellarbrations Handicap (1000m) on the Kensington track and, while there’s natural improvement to come, won’t be beaten on the score of fitness.
Wild Ruler is yet to taste defeat in a race or a trial and he’s told the Snowdens with his two April trial wins he’s bigger and better.
“He’s always trialled well and the only run he had was a good solid performance so he is yet to put a foot wrong,’’ Snowden said.
“His work suggests and his trial suggests he has come back in the same order so hopefully he can do the same thing on Saturday.
“I expect him to run very well, he’s been in work quite a well and forward enough to run very well. He’s not far off peak fitness, he’s as good as we can get him before he races.’’
The Snitzel colt was the $2.90 favourite with TAB on Thursday on the back of his dominant Inglis Nursery win in December and missing racing like the Millennium and a Slipper campaign to reappear now is a signal that the Snowdens have long had the Brisbane carnival in mind.
That carnival’s structure has been subject to a major upheaval due to the coronavirus but Snowden still has a Group 1 ambition for Wild Ruler north of the border.
“We put him away for Brisbane to see how far we got with him and whether he got a mile,’’ he said.
“We still get a chance for a little bit of it but in a different format, and it may play into his hands.
“He was a light, immature, horse early. We could have pushed and shoved him but the plan was to give him a bit of time and look to the riches after the carnival in Sydney.
“The break has done him a world of good, he’s put on a bit of condition and has a lot more tone on him now.’’
If the Kensington track recovers as it usually does from the rain on Thursday, Snowden expects stablemate Sancy to give the colt a run for his money.
The filly, $10 with TAB, was a brilliant debut winner back in December but wet tracks this autumn have hampered her and she’s only appeared once where she failed in the Group 2 Magic Night.
Like Wild Ruler, she’s impressed the stable with how she’s trialling.
“The track will determine her fate, hopefully it’s no worse than a 5 or a 6,’’ he said.
“We wanted to avoid wet tracks with her and we’ve done it up until now but we’re at a point where it is frustrating. She’s fit enough and ready to go, she just needs firm footing to do her best.’’
Wild Ruler wins a trial at Randwick on April 21
Snowden rates Wild Ruler as the stable’s best chance on Saturday but said they have a solid representation in six of the nine races.
Gosford Guineas winner Hightail has his first run since an eye-catching fourth in the Magic Millions Guineas in January in the Quincy Seltzer Handicap (1250m) and is also likely heading north at some stage.
The gelding, a $3.80 second favourite with TAB, has only had the one trial largely due to restrictions on where horses can trial but has been in work for quite a while.
“He’s come back in good order and he only had a soft trial the other day, we expect him to run well in an even race,’’ Snowden said.
“He’s always been around good horses, he’s always a horse that shows quality.
“If he happened to run well we’ll take him up for the Ken Russell but his form will warrant how far he goes and what we run him in.’’