Trainer Peter Snowden has labeled barrier 17 a ‘shocker’ for Limes in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday and believes that the four-year-old will need plenty of luck to record his first win this preparation.
Limes will jump from barrier 14 when the emergencies are removed, inside only the undefeated White Sage, and Snowden told Racing Ahead that he is unable to find a way that the Commands gelding won’t be caught out wide in the early stages of the race.
“The gate is a shocker; to me he looks about four deep and I can’t see him getting in anywhere,” Snowden said.
While Snowden is clearly disappointed with the poor barrier draw, he said that he has been happy with the form of Limes who had only two runs during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival; finishing 13th in the Group 2 Premiere Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 5 and fifth in the Emirates Airline Handicap (1400m) at Flemington on November 9.
Limes won a barrier trial over 1200 metres at Warwick Farm last Saturday, beating home Maluckyday and Tromso, and Snowden is confident that the strong trial performance has the Hawkesbury Guineas winner primed for the Festival Stakes this weekend.
“He is a honest horse and he always races well,” Snowden said.
“I gave him that trial because it was too long between drinks from his last start to this.
“He trialed really sharp the other day and he pulled up really well.
“It just took a little bit of freshness off him, which is what you want to see going into a 1500m when he is third-up.
“He faces a bit of the task from the draw but if he is able to jag a good run from somewhere he is certainly capable of running well.”
Limes is considered an outside chance in Festival Stakes betting markets, currently available at odds of $26, but has previously performed well at Group and Listed level.
The Darley gelding finished third in the 2012 Group 1 Sires Produces Stakes (1400m), sixth in the 2012 Group 1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) and third in the Group 2 2012 Pago Pago Stakes (1200m) as a two-year-old before recording his maiden black type win in the Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) earlier this year.