Snowden Expecting Tight Challenge Stakes Finish

By: Thomas Hackett
March 12th, 2014

Darley trainer Peter Snowden believes that Sessions is one of six winning chances in the 2014 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Sessions is set to return to the races in the Challenge Stakes at Royal Randwick this weekend.

Sessions is set to return to the races in the Challenge Stakes at Royal Randwick this weekend. Photo by: Steve Hart

The Challenge Stakes has drawn a stellar field of ten runners and is set to be a key lead-up race to the T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 12; with all ten runners included in the nominations for the $2.5 million Group 1 event.

Snowden told Sky Racing HQ this morning that there is very little between the leading chances in the Challenge Stakes field and is looking forward to seeing how Sessions mixes it with the likes of Snitzerland and Buffering.

“It is a great field with some of the best sprinters around,” Snowden said.

“There is not much between about five or six runners.

“It is a quality field of sprinters and it is good to see.”

Sessions was given his maiden opportunity at Group level in Sydney during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival and performed well in the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on September 7 before winning the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at the same venue a fortnight later.

The son of Lonhro was taken to Melbourne for the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on October 5, finishing a credible fourth, and was most impressive when making his Group 1 debut in the Manikato Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on October 25; storming home late to finish third behind Buffering and Lucky Nine.

Sessions was unable to replicate that performance down the famous Flemington straight in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) on Emirates Stakes Day and faded badly in the final stages of the race to finish towards the tail of the field.

Snowden believes that Sessions is not suited to straight racing and was happy with the way that the four-year-old has performed in two barrier trials at Rosehill Gardens since returning from a stint in the spelling paddock.

“Both have been terrific and around a corner is definitely the way to go with him,” Snowden said.

“Being back home he has really appreciated that.

“His trials have been good; he has run good times and he has been hitting the line strongly.

“His work was great yesterday morning and he is in good order.”

Sessions ($6) is currently on the third line of the 2014 Challenge Stakes betting market at Ladbrokes Australia; with Black Caviar Lightning Stakes winner Snitzerland ($3) battling for favoritism with triple Group 1 winner Buffering ($3).

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