Horse Racing: Greg Hickman's star sprinter Pierata unleashed a powerful finishing burst to secure his first Group 1 win in the $600,000 All Aged Stakes at Royal Randwick.
The father-and-son training team of Peter and Paul Snowden are synonymous with success at the Hawkesbury stand-alone meeting and they struck again with a feature-race double from Military Zone and Creator on Saturday.
Military Zone fought off the challenge of Trope to score an exciting win in the Group 3 $200,000 Blacktown Workers Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m). This came after the Snowden’s juvenile Creator was an impressive winner of the $125,000 TAB Clarendon Stakes (1300m).
Since the Hawkesbury stand-alone meeting was introduced in 2006, the Snowden stable has been a perennial force.
Military Zone gave Snowden his third Hawkesbury Guineas after his wins with Free Wheeling (2012) and Limes (2013) when he was training for the Darley racing operation. The Snowden stable has now won four Clarendon Stakes and a record six Hawkesbury Crowns.
“We have had a bit of luck at this meeting over the years,’’ Peter Snowden said. “It’s been good for our stable.’’
Military Zone just might the best of the Snowden stable’s Guineas winners after his determined effort. Snowden paid tribute to the brilliant riding of champion jockey James McDonald after Military Zone ($5.50) scored by a head over Trope ($3.80) with Quackerjack ($9.50) two lengths away third.
“James gave Military Zone a gun run, that was the difference between winning and losing,’’ Snowden said. “He had a perfect camp on the back of the speed and switched off well. He ambled up around the turn but I saw Trope coming up behind him. To his credit he dug deep and did enough to win.’’
Military Zone dug deep to hold off Trope to win the Hawkesbury Guineas. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Military Zone, raced by Michael and Chris Ward’s Triple Crown Syndications, won the Gosford Guineas in January but Snowden said the three-year-old for spell rather than target the Sydney autumn carnival.
“We just felt Military Zone was more a Brisbane carnival horse,’’ Snowden said. “We have been lucky, Paul and I, to have a lot of nice horses and you get to tell how good a horse is.
“The day he won his first start at Randwick he ran tremendous sectionals for a green horse and we knew he was a horse with obvious potential.
“We knew then he was better than average and he is going the right way
“This is a good stepping stone and I felt if he was competitive here it would give him a good chance to go onto Brisbane.’’
Snowden said Military Zone may be aimed at the $300,000 Inglis 3yo Guineas (1400m) at Scone on May 11 before continuing his preparation in the Brisbane winter carnival.
“It’s very early in his preparation so he has room to move, we’ve looked after him, he has only had six starts this season,’’ Snowden said. “So, really he has had no racing so I’d like to think there is more to come.’’
Champion jockey James McDonald completed a winning treble on Military Zone after his earlier wins on Creator and Major Danger (TAB Highway). He added a fourth win with the Snowden-trained Signore Fox in the last race.
“Military Zone was only second-up so he can improve,’’ McDonald said. “He has had a bad habit of over-racing but he is learning how to switch off in his races. He has come a long way in a short time.’’
Military Zone gave trainer Peter Snowden his third win in the Hawkesbury Guineas. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Trope’s trainer Michael Hawkes said his colt’s inexperience probably cost him the race.
“It was only his fourth start and he is still so raw,’’ Hawkes said. “He was tardy away and that cost him the race. He will go to Scone and have another crack at the winner.’’
Kylease, the $2.90 favourite, led into the straight but tired badly to finish last in the nine-horse Guineas field.
“That wasn’t her at all today,’’ jockey Corey Brown said. “She was agitated in the barrier and wouldn’t relax at all. She has just come to the end of the preparation.’’
Kylease’s trainer Joe Pride said the filly was “perfect going into the race”.
“But she has done a good job in her first ‘prep’ and will go for a spell now,’’ Pride said.
Blinkers bring out best in Creator
Creator lived up to the stable’s opinion of him by taking out the Clarendon Stakes (1300m) at Hawkesbury, and now he’s on a Group 1 path.
The Team Snowden-trained Redoute’s Choice colt overcame an awkward first half of the race to knuckle down and surge past $1.85 favourite Erno a score by half-a-length.
The $7.50 chance was given the most effective gear change and co-trainer Peter Snowden said it was good to see him show off his true potential at start three.
“The blinkers certainly switched him on today,” Snowden said.
“He was awkward early but he did a good job. He worked in them on Tuesday morning and you could see the difference straight away.
“We were going to get into a good spot then we got back into an awkward spot so James had to get on his bike early and he sustained a good gallop, so there was plenty of merit in the win.
“He’s always showed us plenty of ability and he’s always looked to me like a horse that needed more time but time isn’t your best friend when you’ve got a colt like that. He was stiff in his first race. He got held up and back in a slowly run race.”
The Snowdens will send Creator to the Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) before his grand final in the Group 1 JJ Atkins Stakes (1600m) at Eagle Farm on June 8.
James McDonald was impressed by Creator’s win at Hawkesbury. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“There’s definitely some options in Brisbane, that’s what we’re targeting, and that was a good start,” Snowden said. “He needed to win today to give us the confidence to go to Brisbane and he did that in a good way today.
“He’s going to make his presence felt off the win and on the time he ran. When you get a good Redoute’s Choice, they’re very good. He’s got a lot of developing to do, mind-wise, and he’s got some improving physically too. He’s a talented horse.”
James McDonald said after a hairy start the colt let down impressively and that he’ll be even better over a mile. He described him as a very “strong bull”.
“The strong pace helped but I didn’t intend on being that far back to be honest,” he said. “I had to make up a little bit of ground a little earlier but he went on with it and did a good job.”