The Peter Snowden trained Academus was able to turn the tables on rival three year old Sizzling with a solid win in the Group 3 $125,000 Pacific Petroleum Gold Coast Guineas (1200m) at the Gold Coast today.
Snowden brought Academus to Queensland last year as a two year old and had to be content with three placings behind Sizzling including a third in the Group 1 $500,000 Patinack Farm T J Smith (1600m) at Eagle Farm.
But while Tim Clark gave Academus the perfect run just behind the speed, Chris Munce was shuffled out the back on Sizzling shortly after the start and the Snitzel colt was always in trouble after that.
Clark was able to get Academus ($5) into the clear at the 300m while Munce was held up behind horses and struggling to find a passage on the $2.30 favourite and although he went to the line strongly could only finish fifth.
Runner up Al Aneed ($20) also ran a brave race and after racing with the leaders on the home turn fought on well for second with Dances On Stars ($12) finishing out wide for third.
Academus was having his first run since winning the Group 2 $350,000 Sky Racing-W.A. Guineas (1600m) at Ascot in Perth on November 24 and Snowden claims the travelling has helped the Lonhro gelding mature.
“It has made a real horse of him. He did well in his first campaign last year when he was second to Sizzling in Group races on three occasions,” Snowden said.
“But this year he is far more mature.”
Snowden is yet to finalize the remainder of Academus’ Winter program and a run in the Group 1 $1.36m AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 8 hasn’t been ruled out.
“There are a lot of people trying to get into the Stradbroke but three-year-olds do have a good record,” Snowden said.
Snowden will now target the Group 2 $350,000 Sky Racing Queensland Guineas (1400m) at Eagle Farm with the winner of the three year old feature being exempt from the ballet of the Stradbroke the following week.
Clark has had a busy week and after arriving back in Australia after riding at Hong Kong last Sunday, has ridden at four race meetings before heading to the Gold Coast today.