Darley gelding Knoydart received an ideal run up the inside rail to win the Listed Canterbury Classic (1100m) in Sydney tonight.
Knoydart was ridden off the pace by Kerrin McEvoy, with Queensland sprinter Adebisi setting a quick tempo at the front of the field, and the leading jockey bided his time before making his move on the four-year-old.
Both pre-race favourite Sookie and top-weight Howmuchdoyouloveme loomed to win, but Knoydart was too strong in the final stages of the race and finished strong to record his maiden win at Group level.
Trainer Peter Snowden believes that Knoydart has been a completely different horse since he was gelded at the start of his summer campaign and said he was thrilled to get a maiden big race win with the the son of More Than Ready.
“There is a lot to say about gelding a summer horse,” Snowden said after the race.
“He is a different horse this time in; last time he wouldn’t have thought to much about that gap when it closed, but he really wanted to push through and win tonight.
“It was really good to see from my point of view.”
Knoydart resumed with a solid win over 1200 metres at Canterbury on December 28 last year and has done the majority of his racing over that trip; but Snowden elected to drop him back in distance for the first time since he made his racing debut.
“I could see it in his work and I was in two minds about what to do with him,” Snowden said.
“The benchmark race here he was going to get too much weight in and he was just so sharp at home that I wanted to have a crack at a Listed race and he has done the job well tonight.
McEvoy picked up his third straight winner at Canterbury with his victory on Knoydart in the Canterbury Classic and he admitted that the race could not have worked out better for his mount, who was able to show-off his impressive turn-of-foot.
“It was nice to see him win again up in grade,” McEvoy said.
“It looked a nice tempo, which it was, and around the bend he travelled great for me.
“He just needed a little bit of luck and he was too strong.
“I thought Mick’s horse was laying out on the bend, but he sort of rolled back in.
“There was a gap then and I had my horse in there and was able to bullet through.
“He was dominant in the final stages there.”
Snowden said after the race that Knoydart gives him every indication that he can be successful at Group level during the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival and McEvoy backed up the view of the leading trainer
“There are a nice group of sprint races coming up and I can imagine there will be a few good races for him,” McEvoy said.
Knoydart’s victory was Snowden’s third win in the Canterbury Classic after winning with Pinwheel in 2011 and Skytrain in 2013.