Trainer Peter Snowden is relying on Mazu’s competitive spirit to overcome any stamina issues in the Group 1 $1.5 million Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Mazu hasn’t won beyond 1200m and he has only been as far as 1300m under race conditions once previously, raising some concerns about the gelding’s ability to run a strong 1400m at the highest level.
But Snowden is confident Mazu will get the trip as the four-year-olds strives for his first win this season.
“Mazu is very genuine and with horses like him, even when they are on ‘empty’ they keep finding,” Snowden said.
Trainer Peter Snowden (pictured left with co-trainer Paul) is confident Mazu will run the 1400m strongly in the All Aged Stakes on Saturday. Picture: AAP Image
“He ran out 1300m strongly last preparation (second to Private Eye in the Nature Strip Stakes) after having a few hard runs earlier in the spring. He should run the 1400m strongly.”
Mazu, who is trained by Snowden in partnership with his son, Paul, is at $8 in overnight betting for the All Aged Stakes, the final Group 1 race in Sydney this season with The Everest winner Giga Kick the TAB Fixed Odds favourite at $3.30.
Giga Kick is coming a close last start second to I Wish I Win in the TJ Smith Stakes two weeks ago with Mazu finishing third.
Mazu also ran third in Giga Kick’s The Everest last spring but Snowden believes his gelding can make the necessary improvement to be in the finish of the All Aged Stakes.
“I feel Mazu hasn’t peaked yet this campaign and I think his best efforts are to come – I hope it is Saturday in the All Aged,” Snowden said.
Mazu, the only sprinter so far selected for the $15 million The Everest later this year, is likely to have his autumn campaign extended beyond the All Aged Stakes.
“We will only have time to give Mazu a short spell if we take him to Brisbane again but he’s not the type of horse we want to leave in the paddock for too long,” Snowden said.
“The opportunity is there to run in the Doomben 10,000 again so will see what he does on Saturday and how he pulls up.”
The Snowden stable has designs on snaring both Group 1 races on the final day of the Sydney autumn carnival with talented Don Corleone and Make A Call in the $600,000 Champagne Stakes (1600m).
Don Corleone has contested every juvenile Group 1 races this season, finishing a luckless second in the Blue Diamond Stakes before his fourth in the Golden Slipper and last start second behind Militarize in the Inglis Sires Produce Stakes.
The Champagne looks a two-horse race with Militarize favourite at $2.20 then Don Corleone is next at $3.70. The rest of the field is at double figure odds including Make A Call at $21.
“Militarize is a good horse and he was strong to the line in the Sires,” Snowden said.
“But Don Corleone never runs a bad race, he handled the soft ground last start and travelled quite well through the going.
“He can’t be any fitter and his mindset is really good. He’s still sharp and healthy, his blood is good, his work has been excellent and I can’t see any reason why he would drop off in the Champagne.”
Make A Call had every chance to win the Fernhill Mile last week but did plenty wrong in the straight and was run down by Tom Kitten.
In frustration, Team Snowden is going back to basics with Make A Call.
Don Corleone (outside) is looking to claim the Group 1 Champagne Stakes after second placings in the Blue Diamond and Sires Produce Stakes. Picture: Grant Guy
“I’ve tried winkers, blinkers, I’ve tried everything on this horse,” Snowden said. “But everything is off him this time, he’s ‘naked’ for the Champagne.
“He’s got ability but he had an opportunity last week and should have won. Hopefully he will concentrate on his job.”
The Snowden stable is hoping the Randwick track rating continues to improve from a soft 7 rating to boost the chances of Huetor in the Group 3 $200,000 JRA Plate (2000m).
Huetor, winner of the Group 1 Doomben Cup last year, has had three starts back this preparation and is working his way back to form as indicated by his fifth to Zeyrek in the Neville Sellwood Stakes last start.
“He’s ticking over well and is just about cherry ripe,” Snowden said.
“His work has been very good during the week and I expect him to run well as long as we don’t get too heavy a track on Saturday.
“We plan to take him back to Brisbane for the Hollindale Stakes and Doomben Cup.”
Snowden also has a Brisbane winter carnival campaign in mind for another import, Substantial, a dual acceptor at the Randwick meeting.
Substantial is an emergency for the Petaluma Handicap (1400m) but Snowden indicated he is leaning to running the horse in the Catanach’s Jewellers Handicap (1200m).
Imported gelding Huetor is ready to peak fourth-up in the JRA Plate. Picture: Grant Guy
Snowden noticed Substantial raced keenly when making his Australian debut over 1400m at Rosehill late last month, finishing fifth to Tamerlane, and believes the gelding is better suited in the 1200m sprint on Saturday.
“Substantial went a bit too keen at Rosehill,” Snowden said. “He was only even late, he didn’t lose ground, he didn’t make ground.
“The 1200m might be the better race because it will be run at a stronger tempo and he won’t be pulling as hard.
“He’s a very nice horse, he has racing very well at a consistent level in England last preparation, and his work has been absolutely brilliant since his first run for us.
“This is his first preparation and most imported horses usually do better second time through but he is showing me only good signs and we hope to get him to Brisbane for the carnival. He’s a very exciting horse.”
Snowden stable stalwart Ranges resumes in the Group 3 $200,000 Hall Mark Stakes (1200m).
“Ranges loves wet ground, he’s got a good draw and he’s quite forward for this race,” Snowden said.
“He’s been a very good horse for his owners. He’s no champion but he’s won over $600,000 prizemoney and he comes up every preparation.”
By Ray Thomas
Randwick trainer Paul Snowden didn’t mince his words when talking what he thought the future held just over 12 months ago for this year’s Ramornie winner Ranges.
The six-year-old son of Shooting To Win has been one of the real surprise packets in Australian racing over the past year, after Snowden revealed he was close to being listed on the Inglis Digital sale platform.
“He was threatened to get the sack,” Snowden, who trains in partnership with his father Peter, said.
“He was gone, running around in Benchmark 64s at Kembla and then all of a sudden, he came good.
“Maybe he’s like Mister Ed and understands English and heard the report saying, ‘this is it. If he doesn’t start pulling his finger out he’s gone’.
“He was deadset gone then he resumed at The Gong meeting last year and since then, different horse. That was the turning point.
“Now he’s won two Listed races and you wouldn’t find a more consistent horse.
“You don’t often see them turn it around as five-year-olds like he did.
“He’s a real head scratcher but in the best way possible.
To give some perspective to the change in fortunes for the owners of Ranges, the gelding had 25 starts and earned just over $160,000 in his first 25 starts from June 2019 until the end of the 2020/21 season.
Since then he’s had another two campaigns, 12 starts later he’s a two-time stakes winner and he’s earned just sky of another $430,000.
“Now he’s that confident he carries on now like he’s Black Caviar,” Snowden said.
“He gets the tail up and he’s as confident as they get.
“The way he’s been carrying on around the stables tells me he’s ready to carry on from where he left off.”
Ranges is set to kick off his latest campaign in a 900m barrier trial at Canterbury on Tuesday with the Magic Millions Raceday on the Gold Coast on January 14 his main target.
“I think he’s down to resume in the Razor Sharp but the Gold Coast is where it’s at for him,” Snowden said.
“He’s going up there for the new Syndication race, 1200m, weight-for-age and worth a million.
Meanwhile, this year’s Magic Millions 3YO Guineas winner King Of Sparta is also set to trial on Tuesday and again bounce for the Gold Coast in January.
“He’s had a good break and come back well,” Snowden said.
“He’ll go first-up in the Razor Sharp then depending on how he looks and how he runs there will determine if he has another run before Magic Millions Day.
“We’re looking at nominating him for both, the Cup (1400m) and the Snippets (1200m) and then decide which way we go closer to the day.”
By Clinton Payne