Flying sprinter Redzel is set to reclaim the winner’s stall when he lines up in the Group 2 $500,000 Hyland Race Colours Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on Saturday.

Redzel, above, is the short priced favourite for the 2018 Challenge Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Redzel, above, is the short priced favourite for the 2018 Challenge Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Redzel suffered his first defeat from his last seven starts but wasn’t disgraced when a nose second to Redkirk Warrior in the Group 1 $750,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 17.

Co-trainer Peter Snowden wasn’t disappointed with the effort and can see some positive points coming out of the run.

“To me his run was fantastic, the time was good and his sectionals were very good,’’ Snowden told Racing New South Wales News.

“He just knuckled over at the start but he got going quickly and travelled well.

“If we had the race again, after watching it 50 times, Kerrin (McEvoy) may have held up another 50m. He thought he had them all beaten around him.

“The winner had the slingshot off the back and got him on the line. We can’t be disappointed, yeah he got beaten but he still ran terrifically.’’

Redzel has drawn barrier four in the nine horse Challenge Stakes field and will be ridden again by regular rider Kerrin McEvoy who was very pleased with the gelding’s Tuesday morning gallop.

“It was good solid work with good splits and Kerrin said he worked really well and pulled up even better,’’ Snowden said.

“He’s shown he can run as good on the wet as he can on dry, that’s the best part about him his versatility.’’

Redzel will now stay in Sydney after the Challenge Stakes and the Snowden Racing Team of Peter and Paul will get him ready to run in the Group 1 $2.5m Darley T J Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 7 over the same course and distance as the $10m The Everest that he won during the 2017 Spring Carnival.

“The reason we came back was to get him ready for the TJ and if you go to Melbourne again it’s another trip to factor in,’’ Snowden said.

“It is back around his preferred corner, that style of racing suits him perfectly and he loves Randwick. They’ll know he’s there on Saturday.’’

Redzel has been installed as the $1.50 favourite for the Challenge Stakes at with his nearest rival in the betting being the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained English at $5.

English has drawn barrier three with Corey Brown in the saddle and will be having her first run back since finishing last of nine behind Hey Doc in the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Manikato Stakes (1200m) at The Valley in October.

The only other runner under the $10 mark in the Challenge Stakes is the James Cummings trained three year old Viridine at $8.50.

Brenton Avdulla takes the ride on Viridne who has drawn barrier three and the Poet’s Voice colt will be stepping up to weight for age company for the first time after showing plenty of talent during his Spring Carnival campaign against his own age group.

The lightly raced Viridine has only been to the races on five occasions and was spelled after suffering his only defeat when fifth to Merchant Navy in the Group 1 $1m Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on the first day of the 2017 Melbourne Cup Carnival.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.