Peter Snowden is far from the type of guy who thrives on public praise but he couldn’t help but to be chuffed with the reception he received in the UK last week.
Snowden’s efforts in Australia this season have been well admired at home, but it also appears as if the English have been keeping an eye on him as well.
Snowden had a brief working holiday in England last week and he spent a bit of it at morning track work at Newmarket.
He attracted the attention of the likes of Sir Michael Stoute, Luca Cumani and John Gosden, all of whom wanted to have a chat to the Darley trainer.
“It was very humbling,” Snowden said.
“They knew everything about our horses, it blew me away.”
As part of his stint he also had to meet the boss, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum who runs the global Darley empire.
“We had lunch with Sheik Mohammed one afternoon and he has a tremendous knowledge of all his horses that race in Australia,” Snowden said.
To put his tremendous season into perspective Snowden has amassed 211 race wins, seven Group 1 victories and prize money just short of $16 million.
There’s no doubting the key to this success has been his two year old crew, the likes of which have never been seen.
They account for 37 of his race wins and have come from 24 different horses.
The crowning glory in all of that was taking out a clean sweep of the all the countries juvenile Group 1’s.
Sepoy set the standard with his Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper wins before being followed up by Helmet in the AJC Sires Produce Stakes and Champagne Stakes.
Benfica completed the list up in Brisbane with the TJ Smith Classic.
The season isn’t quite over yet either, Spain could give him another two year old win in the Ingham Love ‘Em Handicap at Rosehill tomorrow.
Back in England though there was more business to attend to, not the least of which entailed taking a tour of the Newmarket stables.
Snowden could well be back there soon, next time in the company of his superstar colt Sepoy.
“Newmarket is a tremendous set-up – it’s a horse haven,” he said.
“It’s a magic place to train, there are 27 different tracks.
“But the English trainers are just like us – they were whingeing about the tracks being too firm when I was there!”
Snowden is now back in Australia and back to work as he begins to increase the load on Sepoy from his Warwick Farm base.
“Sepoy’s going really well and is fairly forward,” he said.
“He will do all his racing in Melbourne during the spring with the Vain Stakes (August 13) his comeback race, and then we will look at running him in the Manikato Stakes.
“He has got to come back yet – it is always the bogey about two-year-olds and whether they come back at three, but if he reproduces his two-year-old form he will be more than suitable for the big English sprint races next year.”
Sepoy has finished his Sydney racing career for the time being with all his starts planned for Melbourne, however it’s a different story for Helmet who will contest the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose.
“Helmet is about two weeks behind Sepoy in his preparation,” he said.
“He will be ready to resume in the Run To The Rose on August 23.”
He’s managed to win New South Wale’s spring major before, in 2009 Denman got the job done, ironically the full brother to the two year old Spain mentioned earlier.
While Snowden says he’s a fair way off his Group 1 champions, he does rate him as a good type after a first up win in Wyong four weeks ago.
“He works extremely well at home but his barrier trials had been very disappointing,” Snowden said.
“I was wondering why he didn’t do more so we went to 1350m at Wyong first-up to give him a chance to find his legs. We might have found the key to him because he fought on well to win.
“I know it is a steep rise in class going to town second-up but 1400m is what he needs.”
Snowden says the 2010 / 2011 year has turned out to be better than anything he had hoped for and it will be a hard one to top.
“We wanted to have a good season with our two-year-olds but what we managed to achieve has been unbelievable,” he said.