By Ray Hickson
We’re still five months out from the Golden Slipper but trainer Peter Snowden is already looking at the best way to have a couple of horses qualified before Christmas.
Three youngsters from the Peter and Paul Snowden stable – Endorse, Close To Me and Dame Giselle - will make their debuts in the Forum Group Kirkham Plate (1000m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Snowden said prizemoney increases and the addition of the $1 million Golden Gift (1100m) in two weeks at Rosehill will make it harder to make a late bid for a start in the two-year-old showpiece.
“If you finish one, two, three in that race (Golden Gift) it will get you in. It takes a lot of pressure off,’’ Snowden said.
“Come Slipper time and something happens or the depth is very deep, if you leave it to the last month to try and get in you’re in a bit of trouble.
"About $100,000 was always the benchmark I worked off but now it could be $150,000-$180,000.''
The Kirkham Plate trio have all shown Snowden they are ready to race, Endorse is a colt while the fillies Close To Me and Dame Giselle are fillies by I Am Invincible who cost $1m and $500,000 respectively.
“It’s only early days yet but I’m pretty happy with them,’’ he said.
“There’s quite a few we have going a bit earlier but all three have put their hand up to show they are ready to do something. I’ll see what they do in this race, there’s a very big carrot two weeks later.’’
Endorse was originally planned to debut on Everest Day but Snowden said the outside barrier in that race would have worked against him.
So he warns that explains the quiet trial the colt had leading into that race, just four days earlier.
“He didn’t have a hard trial because I was going to run him last Saturday so he could have finished a lot closer than he did,’’ he said.
“The biggest problem is he goes too hard, he wants to jump and charge, when he drew nine we decided not to run and I hoped he’d draw better this week and we got one.
“There are two or three really fast horses in the race so he should get a nice run and I wouldn’t rule him out of running a nice race.’’
Close To Me showed professionalism in winning her only official trial, sitting in the back half then working her way through and edging clear.
“Her trial was very impressive, she jumped nicely and travelled well and just pulled her way through the field,’’ he said.
“The further they went the stronger she got. Her work had been like that so it wasn’t a surprise but the way she did it was encouraging.’’
Of the trio Snowden said Dame Giselle will probably take the most improvement despite having two trials under the belt and winning the latest.
Close To Me wins a trial at Randwick on October 14
“She is probably the best type of the three and has a lot of potential, if you twist my arm I’d say she probably wants a touch more time but she’s doing a lot in her work,’’ Snowden said.
“She had a soft trial at Gosford and the other day at Rosehill she sat second and there was a horse that hung badly around the corner and she got lost and didn’t know where she was going.
“When the horses started to get towards her she went better and better. She won the trial but she went better than what most people think.’’
Close To Me shared favouritism with TAB at $2.50 with Anders while Endorse was a $7 chance and Dame Giselle at $10 as at Thursday.
Meanwhile, Snowden confirmed Redzel has gone to the paddock for a 10 day break following his unplaced run in the TAB Everest.
He said the seven-year-old has pulled up soundly but will miss the rest of the spring and be aimed at resuming in the Lightning Stakes early in the new year.