No more Darley gives Peter Snowden some genuine down time and opportunity to play ‘Prankster Pete’

By Christian Nicolussi
The Daily Telegraph


Astute trainer Peter Snowden is not the serious campaigner everyone thinks.
(Picture: Tim Hunter)

Quite often on a Monday morning, Peter Snowden will play a prank on a member of his staff.

Yes, Peter Snowden.

He’d tell the worker he was disappointed in what they had done over the weekend, even though he didn’t have a clue where or what they’s been up to.

Trainer Peter Snowden with wife Lyn in May this year.
(Picture: Simon Bullard)

Amazingly, more often than not the staffers would suddenly volunteer things Snowden never imagined.

“It’s not until about halfway through them telling you what they’d done that you’d say, ‘no, enough’, and you’d have to pull them up,’’ Snowden said on Thursday.

“You feel bad about it for about five minutes, then you have a good laugh.’’

Snowden is also known to tell a decent joke. And just the other day he contacted a staffer, pretending to be a policeman. Sadly, his accent was so bad, the staffer immediately hung up. They had him at ‘’hello’’.

Snowden and his son Paul have stormed on to the scene the past six months since Peter quit the top job at Godolphin, or what was formerly known asDarley.

But it’s during that same time Peter has shown punters a side of him never seen before.

He’s a gentleman, but clearly a bloke up for a laugh.

Who would have thought given how serious he was every time he fronted the TV cameras after a big Darley win.

“You really didn’t have much time for anything, and it consumed your life,’ ’Snowden said of his time in charge of Darley.

“I loved my job (at Darley), so it was never a job for me, but it also gave you no time, and you were always focusing on something.

Peter Snowden and son Paul are both known for their hard work.
(Picture: Colleen Petch)

“Now I still work hard, but there’s downtime, and always time for a chat or a joke — there’s more time to smell the roses.’’

Snowden has quickly settled into life at Randwick.

He reckons all the world’s problems are solved every morning in the trainer’s hut.

“There are trainers there who have the brains of professors, the brains of physicians,’’ Snowden said.

“It’s good banter. There’s good guys. It’s all serious when we’re doing our work, but when there’s a break, we reflect on what’s been going on lately. This morning we discussed programming. That gets aired a bit.’’

Snowden made headlines when Shooting To Win won the Caulfield Guineas.

On Saturday, smart colt Paceman could be the next potential stable star when he debuts in the Rosehill opener.

Paceman, a Duporth colt, is one of 108 bubs on Snowden’s books.

He won his trial by nearly seven lengths, which is why he’s probably been listed the odds-on favourite.

“He did trial nicely, but it’s only a trial,”  Snowden said.

Peter Snowden and son Paul have made quite an impact since teaming up after Peter parted ways with Darley.
(Picture: Colleen Petch)

“He looked impressive, but he’s still young and immature. He wants to do things in a hurry, but he is getting better in his work. We’ve tried to work on that, even in his trial, we deliberately tried to hold him up, and he was good.

“When we let him go in that trial, he started to climb and over-stride, but he flattened out that last furlong.

“There’s no doubt he’s got talent, and Saturday will be a good test to see what sort of talent he has. He’s a work in progress, but if he fulfils his potential, he should measure up with the better (two-year-olds).’’

Snowden said Darley had all the systems in place for the Generation Next, and when he broke away, it took him time to find the right breakers and pre-trainers.

Because of that, he felt he was about a month behind where he wanted to be with his giant team of babies.

“But that doesn’t mean the ability falls out of them, it just means it takes a bit longer for them to fulfil what is there anyway,’’ he said.

Commanding Wit also goes around later in the day at Rosehill, and with Koby Jennings’ claim, good draw and right distance, Snowden expected the mare to be hard to beat.

She hadn’t showed her usual ping this preparation, but had been hitting the line well.

Snowden never envisaged he’s had have so much success so soon.

Peter Snowden begins his first day as a private trainer in May after six years with Darley.
(Picture: The Daily Telegraph)

It’s helped he left Darley with a huge reputation intact, which made it easier to convince good owners to give him even better horses.

Shooting To Win had ability from day one, and Snowden is already eyeing off a rare autumn feat — to win the Doncaster with a three-year-old.

“There was certainly no fluke about his last two starts,’’ said Snowden, in reference to the colt’s triumphs in the Stan Fox Stakes and Caulfield Guineas.

“He worked with Cluster one morning and towelled him up big time. For a horse to do that to him, he’s such a great trackworker, I thought there was talent there.

“Realistically, the Doncaster is on the table for him. Not many three-year-olds win it, and being a handicap the three-year-olds tend to get penalised with weight.

Pierro comes to mind quickly as a three-year-old who didn’t (win). Lonhro couldn’t win one on the handicap scale as a three-year-old.

“I remember Over beat Sunline when we were at Crown Lodge, but Over had 51.5kg and Sunline had 57.5kg. If you’ve got an elite horse and they’re good enough, it can be done.

“The Randwick Guineas would be third-up, the George Ryder fourth-up, and Doncaster fifth-up.’’

Paul Snowden
praises his father. At 35, Paul will one day take over the training operation, which is why Peter upped stumps from Godolphin in the first place.

Paul works hard like the old man. Surprisingly, like Peter, he’s also known to enjoy a laugh.



Peter Snowden at his Warwick Farm stables before the changeover.
(Picture: Brett Costello)