Following the news Peter Snowden would stand down from his position as head trainer for Australia’s Darley operation at the end of next autumn, local horseman Guy Walter is being tipped as the man to replace his esteemed colleague.
The surprise announcement that Snowden would renounce his partnership with Darley, which he has held since May of 2008, was made on Wednesday.
Snowden plans to move into a new era of his training career starting up a new enterprise, one he’s long aspired to hold, with his son and the stable’s Melbourne foreman Paul Snowden.
The dedicated horseman will leave some big shoes to fill at Darley having made a huge impact on the operation including 28 Group 1 wins.
Just this spring he was behind the Caulfield Guineas – Thousand Guineas double with Long John and Guelph respectively.
While Snowden remains focused on achieving results for the Darley regime before his departure, attention for many has already turned to his replacement and who that will be.
This morning Darley confirmed they would be looking to fill the position with an already established Australian trainer or assistant trainer.
The declaration dispelled rumours they were looking at an overseas conditioner.
“It’s going to be a local candidate rather than an overseas candidate,” Sheikh Mohammed’s Australian Darley managing director Henry Plumptre told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
“I was asked that question yesterday and I made the comment that I think there’s an abundance of local talent in the training ranks here.
“We’ll just have to try and find someone who’s a good all-rounder that we think can step up and take over some pretty big shoes.”
Mohammed is expected to play a strong hand in deciding who that “all-rounder” will be.
“We’ll involve the overseas base very much because it basically involves Sheikh Mohammed and ultimately it’s his decision,” Plumptre said.
“He’s very involved with all of his racing operations around the world and this is a very big division, the racing division in Australia, so he’ll be taking a keen interest in this.”
Australian bookmakers are already taking bets on Snowden’s substitute with the Warwick Farm-based Walter, best known for his association with the champion Tie The Knot, leading the markets.
A winner of 27 Group 1s, Walter’s horses have amassed over $38 million in prize money over the years.
He also became the first trainer in history to prepare a Doncaster Handicap trifecta when he took out the top three placings in the 2005 edition.
Walter already trains a handful of the Sheikh’s horses including triple Group 1 winning mare Appearance.
Others in line include current Darley stable representative Brad Widdup, Victoria’s Anthony Freedman who has managed a handful of their horses over the past season and John Thompson formerly with the defunct Nathan Tinkler-operated Patianck Farm.