Snowden Looking For Positive Start To Mazu’s Everest Journey

Photo: Mazu

By Ray Hickson

You have to feel a little for exciting sprinter Mazu, not only is he regarded as the next big thing in the sprinting ranks but cut from the same mould as dual Everest winner Redzel.

That’s a fair amount to heap on the four-year-old’s shoulders but co-trainer Paul Snowden suspects he could be an improved version of the stable’s former star who retired with over $16 million in prizemoney.

“He’s got a lot of similarities. His work is much alike to the old horse, his racing pattern is quite similar,’’ Snowden said.

“He has that ability to absorb some pressure. If Redzel got attacked early or midrace, Trapeze Artist got him a couple of times, he was vulnerable late whereas this horse won’t be.”

Redzel was five when he won the inaugural Everest in 2017 so time is on Mazu’s side and that was recognised with connections securing a two-year Everest slot deal.

Mazu wins the Group1 Doomben 10000 Photo: Darren Winningham

Mazu begins the first of what could be many TAB Everest campaigns in a star-studded Group 2 $1 million Bowermans Shorts (1100m) at Royal Randwick and Snowden said the result is less important than the performance on Saturday.

But he’s quietly confidence the performance will confirm his place in TAB Everest betting. He’s $6.50 third elect with TAB in the Shorts and shares the second line at $8 in the Everest.

That’s because Mazu has returned in great order from his breakthrough autumn campaign, where he went unbeaten in five starts including the Group 2 Arrowfield Stakes and the Group 1 Doomben 10,000.

“It’s been a great preparation,’’ Snowden said.

“Obviously they all resume in this race but the key component is how much improvement each horse has got coming out of the race.

“It’s going to be a sticky result from everyone’s point of view but I don’t think it matters where you run so to speak it’s how much improvement you have in you.

“I’d like to think he’s going to butter up against these good horses in the future and it all starts on Saturday.”

It’s widely expected the Shorts will be genuinely run and Snowden said from Mazu’s barrier (four) he could be the one to take advantage if Nature Strip and Eduardo falter up front.

“We’re going out there to run well,’’ he said.

“There’s a bit of a tail to this race but I’d like to think we’ve got a nice horse who can run well against these. There’s going to be speed on and hopefully we can be just behind it and have the last look.”

Godolphin is playing the patient game in selecting an Everest runner, with Paulele regarded as the number one seed, and trainer James Cummings sends Andermatt and Athelric into battle in The Shorts.

The duo mixed it with Eduardo in the Concorde with Athelric finishing second and Andermatt, who was heavily backed, in fourth so Cummings concedes both need to improve on their efforts.

“It doesn’t look like they can cause an upset but I think both horses can run very well,’’ Cummings said on SEN.

“It’s a shame to see Andermatt drawn so wide off the track, he’s going to have a lot to do, but his condition going into the first-up run told me there was a stack of improvement in the horse.

“With that run under his belt he’s gone ahead and he’s going to need to if he is to run any sort of race against the quality of opposition he’s up against. The depth is extraordinary.”

Athelric rushed through the grades in the late autumn culminating in a Listed win in Queensland and Cummings suggested on his Concorde effort he can continue to climb the ladder to a degree.

Whether he’s an Everest horse for Godolphin remains to be seen but he could be angling for a run in the Group 3 $2 million Sydney Stakes (1200m) on the Everest undercard.

“He took that first-up run in his stride, he continues to train in an understated fashion,’’ Cummings said.

“He could be a quiet achiever and he is going to get a perfect run from his draw. Look for him to be running another good race but we’ve got to be realistic.

“He might find himself in something reasonable in one or two starts time.”