Leady Sydney trainer Peter Snowden exposed the massive gap between the two-year-olds in his stable and the rest of the juveniles out there once again on the weekend with his well-bred youngster Benfica saluting at Doomben.
Snowden has given Darley a stunning year to date in the juvenile racing arena, completing dominating the autumn Group 1’s for this age group thanks to Sepoy’s dual elite-level wins in the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper and stablemate Helmet taking out the Inglis Sires Produce -Champagne Stakes double.
The dream run continued at Doomben last Saturday with Lonhro colt Benfica claiming a comprehensive three and a half length win in the $100,000 Listed Hampden Stakes (1200m) on BTC Cup Day.
In front of over 20,000 racegoers who were there to watch glamour Melbourne mare Black Caviar score her record 13th straight win, Benfica earlier made a mess of their rivals in Race 4.
The well-supported $2 favourite easily defeated the Gerald Ryan-trained Saramenha ($8.50) while Glen Boss rode Playtime ($19) to a game third just a nose further away on the line.
Benfica has now won two of their three career starts, Saturday’s win their first-up for the season since finishing second to Schiffer in a handicap at Randwick on Boxing Day.
“He’s had a couple of little setbacks so there is sure to be plenty of improvement from this run,” Snowden’s stable representative Paul Reid said of Benfica after the Hampden Stakes.
Snowden is expected to keep Benfica in the sunshine state and chase more black-type success, the gun colt heading towards the $250,000 Group 2 QTC Sires Produce Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm’s Queensland Oaks Day, Saturday June 4.
“He looks like a stayer in the making and there’s no doubt he will be much better suited when he gets to 1400m in the Sires Produce at Eagle Farm in a few weeks,” Reid continued.
“Peter (Snowden) has a good opinion of Benfica and we always intended to target the winter carnival in Brisbane.”
Jockey Damian Browne was aboard Benfica for the first time on Saturday and held a high opinion of the colt after the race also.
“I looked like being trapped three wide early so I gave him a dig to cross to the fence and he then settled perfectly right behind the leaders,” Browne said of the ride.
“I really like the way he kept extending all the way down the straight.
“He’s a great prospect.
“He gave me every indication that the 1400 metres of the Sires will be right up his alley and I’d love to be able to stick with him.”
Darley and Snowden also enjoyed Queensland Winter Carnival success the previous Saturday when smart Domesday filly Divorces scored a comfortable win in the Listed Gold Coast Bracelet (1800m).
Divorces is heading towards the $400,000 Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) and currently leads the early odds at $7.