Darley is on track for an impressive clean sweep of this year’s Group 1 two-year-old events but Gerald Ryan is confident his Golden Slipper runner can deny them their prize.
Hot Snitzel finished 12th in the major Group 1 in the Autumn but Ryan believes it’s a different horse coming up to Brisbane.
“He had a rushed campaign for the Golden Slipper and then backed up the next week to run third in the Kindergarten,” he said.
“I’ve always said he’ll be better once he gets out to 1400 and 1600 metres. He’s got a staying pedigree.”
The king of juveniles in 2011, Peter Snowden, will be relying on Benfica in the TJ Smith at Eagle Farm later in June to bring home that fifth event for Darley.
He jumped as a clear favourite in a big field in the Listed Hampden Stakes at Doomben on the weekend and that win has secured a start in both the Group 2 Sire’s Produce Stakes and the TJ Smith.
He’s the third horse in the Darley arsenal this year after Sepoy won the Blue Diamond and the Golden Slipper while Helmet claimed the last two with wins in the AJC Sires Produce Stakes and the Champagne Stakes.
Hot Snitzel was outclassed in Sydney earlier in the year but after winning easily in the Listed Ken Russel Memorial on the Gold Coast he’s on track for a Group 2 start in the Champagne Stakes this weekend at Doomben.
“I’m not afraid of Benfica,” Ryan said.
“Hot Snitzel will run in the Champagne Stakes on Saturday and Corey Brown was booked last week as soon as I heard Nash (Rawiller) wouldn’t be appealing his careless riding suspension.
“I’ve got a good form line on Benfica with Schiffer who beat him at Randwick on Boxing Day.
“I’m not saying Hot Snitzel is better than Schiffer but he’s improved a lot and he was always going to improve after finishing third in the Kindergarten Stakes before he came here.”