Trainer Mick Price is confident that Royal Snitzel can break through for her maiden Stakes win in the 2015 Kevin Hayes Stakes at Caulfield tomorrow.
Royal Snitzel made her racing debut with a comfortable win at Donald on June 19 last year and she took out the Ascend Sales Trophies Handicap (1100m) at Caulfield on July 5, but she suffered an upset loss to Sabatini in the Group 3 Quezette Stakes (1100m) at the same venue on August 16.
Price elected to send Royal Snitzel for a lengthy stint in the spelling paddock and she returned to racing with a strong win in the Schweppes Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on January 24.
The veteran trainer has always been of the opinion that Royal Snitzel was good enough to win at Group level and he could not be happier with the daughter of Snitzel heading into the Kevin Hayes Stakes this weekend.
“We thought that she was a Stakes filly coming and when she was beaten by Sabatini in the Quezette I thought that it was a pretty good run there,” Price said.
“She is going fantastic.
“It is a small field and he doesn’t have to do too much thinking because he will put herself in the spot.
“She is going really well, she has improved from her first-up win and I think she has a good chance.”
Royal Snitzel will have a fitness edge over the majority of her rivals in the 2015 Kevin Hayes Stakes field, but will still face stiff competition against the likes of Afleet Esprit, Lucky Raquie, Sabatini, Fontein Ruby and Thinking Of You.
Fontein Ruby clearly went over the top after winning a Group 3 Caulfield Classic (2000m) on October 18 and she failed to fire in both the Group 2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) and the Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m), but trainer Robert Smerdon told Racing Ahead that the Turffontein filly took plenty of benefit from her stint in the spelling paddock and will be hitting the line strongly in the Kevin Hayes Stakes.
“She is a very tough filly and she thrived through a short break,” Price said.
“I didn’t give her too much time off after the spring, but she bounced back and everything that she has done has really pleased us.
“She is not ideally a 1200 metre horse and she is drawn awkwardly, but she will be strong late and will progress as she gets out to 1600.”
Royal Snitzel has been on the drift in 2015 Kevin Hayes Stakes betting markets and is out to $2.25, but remains favourite from the well-backed Afleet Esprit ($3.80), Peter Moody-trained Thinking Of You ($5.50) and Fontein Ruby ($10).