With all the hype surrounding Peter Snowden’s star, Dubai World Cup Carnival-bound stablemates Sepoy and Helmet, another Group 1 winner from his ace crop of three-year-olds, Benfica is ready to resume racing and add more elite level glory to their own, and the stable’s, name.
An impeccably bred son of Lonhro out of Danehill mare Hut, Benfica enjoyed a strong juvenile campaign having won three of their five starts with their most recent appearance producing a Group 1 victory in the T.J. Smith over the Eagle Farm mile on June 11.
Benfica went to the paddock following the T.J. Smith on a sour note, however, after suffering a serious muscle injury during the run.
Forced to spend the next seven months on the sidelines, hopes are high back at camp for Benfica to start back up where they left off and continue the winning ways of the Darley stable down under as Sepoy and Helmet prepare to begin a new career racing for Godolphin overseas.
“He’s a lovely horse and one that we’ve all been looking forward to him coming back,” Peter’s son and Melbourne foreman Paul Snowden said last week.
The $465,000 earner arrived in Melbourne two weeks ago and all reports are that they have made a wonderful recovery and are jumping out of their skin to get back under race conditions.
Their first-up run is scheduled for Caulfield’s Australia Day meeting Thursday week.
It is shaping up as a bumper Australia Day race program at the track with both the fillies and colts and geldings’ editions of the Blue Diamond Previews scheduled to run along with two other black-type features – the $100,000 Listed John Dillon Stakes (1400m) and the $100,000 Listed Zeditave Stakes (1200m).
It is the 2012 Zeditave Stakes that Snowden has penciled in for Benfica’s return, the smart youngster likely to go straight into the race without a trial.
A noted late season performer, Benfica is being earmarked as Snowden’s ace representative in the Melbourne and Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival features including the $750,000 Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 3, which is also the final Aussie goal for Helmet, and the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 21 against open-age company.
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