Trainer Peter Snowden has confirmed that jockey Damian Browne will retain the ride on classy filly Earthquake in the 2014 Blue Diamond Stakes at Caulfield on February 22.
Browne steered Earthquake to victory in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday and Snowden told RSN that he was happy to keep the leading Queensland jockey on the daughter of Exceed And Excel.
“He’s a talented rider, it’s a wonder people haven’t taken more notice of him,” Snowden said.
“He gets the job done and on the right horses he’s as good as anybody.
“He’s one of those guys that has been riding for a while but he just seems to fly under the radar.
“He has got the calmest nature you’ve ever seen and even yesterday it was like he had been riding the horse all his life, he was very relaxed.”
Regular Darley jockey Kerrin McEvoy was hopeful that he would be able to return from a knee injury in time to ride Earthquake in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m), but Snowden said that the chances of talented hoop being fit to take the ride were very slim.
“Being only two weeks away it’s highly unlikely that Kerrin will be back,” Snowden said.
“He wants to try and ride work the Tuesday before the Saturday of the Blue Diamond, but since it’s a Grade 2 tear of a medial ligament that seems pretty optimistic.”
Earthquake ($2.60) reclaimed her favouritism in the 2014 Blue Diamond Stakes betting market at Ladbrokes; with exciting colt Rubick out to a quote of $3 following his tough win in the Blue Diamond Prelude For Colts And Geldings.
Snowden said that he was delighted with the way Earthquake pulled up from her Group 3 victory on Saturday and believes that the relative ease of her victory, compared to that of Rubick, gives his star juvenile an edge in the Blue Diamond Stakes.
“She’s licked the bowl this morning, there’s not a speck left and she’s in great order,” Browne said.
“The way the race was run really helped her because it wasn’t a gut-buster, compared to the colts division where they went a crazy speed early.
“I think we were lucky we were in the fillies division yesterday.”
Snowden is chasing his second win in the Blue Diamond Stakes after claiming the 2011 edition of the race with Sepoy.