Snowden hoping for upset in Champagne Stakes

By: Mark Mazzaglia
April 26th, 2012

Trainer Peter Snowden is hoping for an upset in the Group 1 $400,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday but admits it looks almost impossible to upstage the unbeaten Pierro.

Peter Snowden

Peter Snowden is hoping his runners can cause an upset in the Champagne Stakes - photo (c) Taron Clarke

Snowden will be lining up two youngsters, Limes and Tatra, against the Gai Waterhouse two year old who has taken all before him over the Sydney Autumn Carnival.

Pierro went into the carnival with one win from his only start and has continued on undefeated with another four wins and over $2.6m in prizemoney.

The Lonhro colt now is shooting for the two year old triple crown if he can take out the Champagne Stakes after wins in the Group 1 $3.5m AAMI Golden Slipper (1200m)  aat Rosehill and the Group 1 $500,000 Inglis Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.

Waterhouse was the last trainer who produced a two year old to take out the triple crown back in 2004 when Dance Hero swept all before him.

Even though Snowden respects the feats of Pierro, he said that it takes a very special race horse to peak on three occasions in one preparation.

“You don’t want to take anything away from this horse. He’s really good and he’s shown that,” Snowden said.

“He’s a fighter, he’s very tough.”

“He just keeps pulling something out and those horses are always hard to beat no matter how many runs they’ve had.”

Snowden has won the last two Champagne Stakes with Helmet last year and Skilled in 2010 and is happy with the progress of his two representatives.

Limes has already clashed with Pierro once, beaten two lengths when third in the Sires Produce and Snowden is looking forward to the Commands colt stepping up to 1600m.

“There was a lot of merit in his last start, to finish as close as he did to the two best colts around,” Snowden said.

“He did a lot of things wrong. I’d like to think Saturday will be his best run.”

“The signs are there he’s still improving. It’s whether he’s got the class to beat a very, very good colt that remains to be seen.”

Snowden is ready to give Tatra another go in top company after failing to beat a runner home in the Sires Produce.

The Hussonet colt had reasonable form before that and wasn’t disgraced when fourth to All Too Hard in the Group 2 $250,000 Henry Bucks Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on March 10.

“He just went a mile too hard. There was a breakneck speed in the race and he got tangled up in a duel with two other horses,” Snowden said.

“He’s a nice horse. A mile won’t be a problem for him. Even though he was beaten a long way the other day if he’d settled he wouldn’t have been beaten that far.”

“It’s just a matter of him going a bit easier in the first half of the race and I’m sure he’ll find the line better than he did the other day.”

There is no doubt that Pierro will start a very short priced favourite on Saturday from barrier six in a field of nine with stable mate Raceway (barrier 3) and Limes (5) the only other runners to under double figures.

Raceway had good form leading into the Golden Slipper and was only beaten three and a quarter lengths by Pierro and then finished fourth just over four lengths away in the Sires Produce.

Trainer Clarry Conners is not giving up hope with his filly Dear Demi who has already won over the distance when she took out the Listed Medina Apartment Hotels Fernhill Handicap (1600m) at Randwick last Saturday.

Nash Rawiller will again be on the unbeaten Pierro and Kerrin McEvoy will stick with Limes while boom New Zealand jockey James McDonald has retained the mount on Dear Demi.

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