Peter Snowden’s superlative sprinter Sepoy boosted their career earnings to over the $3 million mark with a slick win in the $250,000 Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington over the weekend, the country’s top three-year-old on track to take on the older horses in the Manikato Stakes 2011.
Connections of the brilliant Blue Diamond Stakes – Golden Slipper winning son of Elusive Quality were using Saturday’s Danehill Stakes as a guide to whether Sepoy was ready to step up to open company and tackle the $500,000 Group 1 Manikato Stakes (1200m) under the lights at Moonee Valley on September 30.
Although Sepoy’s Danehill Stakes success wasn’t as emphatic as his earlier wins, including his impressive two and a half length first-up victory over Golden Archer in the Listed Vain Stakes at Caulfield, they still crossed the white line first and didn’t have much trouble doing so.
“A win’s a win,” Snowden said simply.
“Whether it is an inch or 10 lengths it doesn’t matter to me.
“He did the job well.”
The 58kg topweight of the field with Kerrin McEvoy in the mount, Sepoy ($1.14F) remained unbeaten as a three-year-old by beating home Peter Moody’s exciting filly Hallowell Belle ($12) by a length with Frankie Stockdale’s $61 roughie Unique Quality finishing a further quarter length away in an eye-catching third.
Sepoy may have had only a length to spare, a small margin considering the previous lengths he has thrashed his rivals by, but having run the final 600 metre sectional in 33.15 seconds there is no doubting his sizzling form.
Snowden was over the moon with the authoritative Danehill Stakes success, Sepoy’s second win from as many starts at Flemington, and said that there was still improvement left in the horse that has now won $3,133,000 in prize money.
“We’re trying to teach him not to lead and to race behind,” Snowden explained.
“We don’t want him to be one of those one-dimensional speed horses.
“We want him to be more complete than that.
“The further up the ladder you go the more strings you must have to your bow.”
The next string Sepoy will get the chance to add to his bow will be the Manikato Stakes if owners take Snowden’s recommendation to run him in the end-of-month feature.
“To wait a month for his next start is not an ideal scenario for a bloke like him but it is certainly a big carrot to dangle,” Snowden said in regards to the Manikato.
“It is a Group One race, it is a magnificent race, it is a stallion-making race so we certainly have to look at it in a big way.
“I’ve got to talk to the team first, it’s a group decision between here in Australia and in Dubai – the boss (owner Sheikh Mohammed) has got to agree with what we’re going to do – but my call would be to go that way.”
Manikato Stakes 2011 betting is currently lead by Peter Moody’s undefeated queen Black Caviar, the $1.70 favourite a doubtful acceptor.
Sepoy sits second in Manikato Stakes odds at $2.70 followed by another Moody-trained mare Kulgrinda ($7) while Gai Waterhouse’s yet-to-resume glamour mare More Joyous is the only other contender at single-figure odds paying $8.
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