This has to go down as one of the training masterstrokes of the year – Captivant being pulled out of a spelling paddock for a Group 1 success at Royal Randwick.
Peter Snowden, who trains in partnership with son, Paul, revealed the unlikely backstory to Captivant’s exciting win in the $500,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m).
Snowden had sent Captivant for a short break with the plan to aim the colt at the Brisbane winter carnival.
But when news filtered through last Saturday that Anamoe, who had so comprehensively beaten Captivant in the Inglis Sires during The Championships two weeks ago, was not going to run in the Champagne Stakes, Snowden quickly hauled their colt out of the spelling paddock.
“When we got beaten convincingly in the Sires’, we thought maybe we won’t be able to beat the Godolphin horse (Anamoe) in the Champagne and we might regroup and head to Brisbane,’’ Snowden said.
“Then the mail came that he (Anamoe) wasn’t going to be here so it was a quick change of plans.
“But the freshen up for a couple of days in the paddock did him the world of good. It was the best he’s ever been out the back and really good in the mounting yard and being back on a good track as well.
“A few things lined up for him today and he we’re really glad with the result we got.”
Peter Snowden brought Captivant out of the spelling paddock in time for the Champagne Stakes. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
The two star colts who fought out the minor placings in the Sires were at it again in the Champagne Stakes but this time Captivant ($4.80) finished in front of arch rival Hilal ($4.20 favourite) by a neck with Converge ($5.50) one-and-a-half lengths away third.
Captivant gave the Snowden stable their fifth Champagne Stakes after winning the classic previously with King’s Legacy (2020), Guelph (2013), Helmet (2011) and Skilled (2010).
“Super win and it was a magic ride by James (McDonald),’’ Snowden said.
“I know we had a good gate but he did all the right moves, gave the horse the rest he needed and waited for as long as he could to balance up again.
“He gave him a squeeze coming to the corner, he picked up for him so he knew he had something there. He gave him another little bit of a rest then asked him for something the last 300m and he was really good.”
McDonald conceded “barriers win races” but had a comical take on Team Snowden’s training coup.
“He was primed to come here today with a Grand Final in mind albeit he had a little spell in the paddock. Maybe Peter has got to start training all his horses like that,’’ McDonald said.
Captivant wins the Group 1 Champagne Stakes! @mcacajamez produces a 🍑[email protected]/mKnRIJmA8c
Captivant also gave his boom first season sire, Capitalist, his first Group 1 winner.
Team Snowden also trained Capitalist, the 2016 Golden Slipper winner, and took particular satisfaction out of preparing the young stallion’s first Group 1 winner.
“It’s really special and Capitalist has had an unbelievable year,’’ Snowden said.
“To think so many horses have got to the highest level and he had three runners in the Golden Slipper.
“They’re winning everywhere so he’s done a tremendous job in his first 12 months of his horses hitting the track.
“To get a Group 1 winner with his first crop, I’m glad it was me that had it. This win means a lot to me and the family.
“Capitalist was a great horse to us and to see his stock going to the races and winning like they are and running like they are makes us very proud.”
Jockey Tommy Berry wasn’t offering any excuses for Hilal’s narrow defeat.
“Hilal was brilliant,’’ Berry said.
“The winner just had a charmed run through.”
Hall Mark Stakes: Splintex wins brings back memories
Splintex, the topical tip on the eve of Anzac Day, duly saluted at Royal Randwick.
Vietnam veteran Geoff Grimish names most of his racehorses with a military theme to honour those men and women he fought alongside, and for military personnel who paid the ultimate sacrifice when fighting for their country in war.
During the Vietnam War, Grimish fought in the Battle of Coral, one of the Australian Army’s most significant battles during that conflict which claimed the lives of 25 Australian soldiers. It is estimated nearly 300 North Vietnamese soldiers were killed.
It was during this battle splintex shrapnel shells were used for the only time by Australians in conflict.
“We were heavily outnumbered in that battle but I’m sure they helped us to defeat the enemy,’’ said Grimish who will participating in Sydney’s Anzac Day march this morning.
To this day, Grimish carries a splintex shell in a plastic bag in his wallet and produced it after his sprinter, Splintex, won the Group 3 $160,000 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m).
Splintex ($4.50 favourite) held on for a tough half length win over Ranier ($17) with Victorem ($12) a similar margin away third.
“It’s really good to get a win today, especially for Geoff and Mary Grimish. Anzac Day means a lot to Geoff and on the eve of Anzac Day, it’s a really important win for him,’’ trainer Mark Newnham said.
Splintex wins for Josh Parr at Randwick. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Splintex also provided Newnham with a change of fortune after an autumn carnival of near-misses at feature race level.
“I rode him in his last gallop, which was last Saturday morning when we had the course proper gallop here and I was thinking this morning, I wish it was as soft as last week,’’ Newnham said.
“But he’s got the job done on quick ground. He has just run in a few races that he hasn’t had much luck in, or they’ve been at Group 1 level and he’s just fallen a little bit short.
“But his two runs this time in have been good enough. He didn’t have a lot of luck first up and then he drew the outside in the Galaxy and 1100 at Rosehill, it doesn’t give you much chance when you draw out there.’’
Newnham said Splintex is now likely to be aimed at the Group 1 Kingsford-Smith Cup (1350m) at Doomben next month.
“He’s settling better in his races now and I’m sure he can run a strong 1350m around Doomben,’’ he said.
Originally published asSnowdens toast Champagne training masterstroke
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