Co-trainer Peter Snowden believes the two horses he and son Paul saddle-up in the Group 2 $250,000 Ladbrokes Sandown Guineas (1600m) on Saturday shape-up as genuine hopes in an open edition of the mile showdown.
There are 11 three-year-olds running in this weekend’s Sandown Guineas line-up and Snowden, who boasts four previous wins in the end-of-spring showdown, believes it is a fairly week edition.
“I don’t think it’s an overly strong race,” Snowden told AAP this week.
When head trainer for the Sheikh Mohammed-led Darley operation down under Snowden prepared four Sandown Guineas winners with: Caymans (2008), Kidnapped (2009), Tatra (2012) and most recently Paximadia (2013).
This season he chases a fifth with two runners he co-trains in partnership with his former Melbourne foreman during the Darley era, his son Paul.
The Team Snowden starters are Hypnotist and Icon Of Dubai drawn in barriers six and eight respectively and both coming off forgivable, unplaced runs.
“They’re both going well,” Snowden said confidently.
“Hypnotist will get a lot further. He’ll get 2000 metres whereas Icon Of Dubai is probably a sprinter-miler.”
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who rode all four of Snowden’s previous Sandown Guineas winners, continues his association with Snitzel colt Hypnotist.
The young horse is a winner of three of his six career starts and pays $11 in the latest Sandown Guineas odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Hypnotist has had three runs this preparation including the close fourth to Astoria in the Group 3 Spring Stakes (1600m) at Newcastle in mid-September.
His final lead-up was on Derby Day at Flemington when under three lengths beaten by the winner Levendi in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) from a wide draw (14 of 15).
“He was wide throughout the whole race and he still ran on so I thought his run was actually pretty good,” Snowden said.
“He’s definitely going to get further but he looks a chance on paper.
“It looks a race I think he’ll be competitive in [on Saturday].”
Stablemate Icon Of Dubai meanwhile pays $14 in the Sandown Guineas betting markets at race sponsor Ladbrokes and has hoop Michael Walker in the saddle.
The son of High Chaparral is a half-brother to the Snowden’s 2015 Blue Diamond Stakes – ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes winner Pride Of Dubai.
Icon Of Dubai won at Kembla Grange over 1400m by six lengths on September 23 breaking his maiden status before his first foray into stakes company on October 7.
He lined-up in the Listed Poseidon Stakes (1400m) at Flemington that day and Snowden said there were excuses for his seventh place finish behind Snitzepeg.
“He just got back in the field last start…and just got lost,” Snowden said.
The Darren Weir-trained Snitzepeg franked the form winning the Listed Gothic Stakes (1400m) on Caulfield Cup Day before crossing just three-quarters-of-a-length away fifth in the Carbine Club Stakes.
He is the narrow $5 second favourite for the Sandown Guineas win on the weekend with markets led by the James Cummings-trained Godolphin runner Beau Geste, the Street Cry colt a close fourth in the Carbine Club Stakes from November 4.
Icon Of Dubai meanwhile was scratched form a black-type race last weekend due to a wide barrier draw and will don blinkers for the first time in the Sandown Guineas.
“I’m hoping with the blinkers on it will make him a bit more focused and race like I know he can,” Snowden added.