Peter Snowden and the Darley stable have ruled out all but one of their spring stars for the big ones at Royal Randwick this Saturday with Ambidexter in the Epsom Handicap 2012 their sole Group 1 chance at the major Sydney Spring Racing Carnival meeting.
The four-year-old Commands stallion, a close fourth in both the Randwick and Rosehill Guineas during the autumn, resumed with a tight first-up victory over Epsom Handicap favourite Fat Al in the Group 2 Theo Marks Sprint (1400m) at Rosehill on September 15.
They race second-up on Saturday taking on the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fat Al, the beaten favourite in last Saturday’s Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) when third to Rolling Pin, again when the two run in the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m).
Snowden still officially has multiple Epsom Handicap entries, including his close Shannon Stakes runner-up Offenders, but the top Sydney trainer has confirmed Ambidexter will be the stable’s only Group 1 runner on a day boasting four elite level features.
“Ambidexter is the only one we are running in the Epsom,” Snowden, who is chasing his maiden Epsom Handicap victory, said.
“Offenders is more suited to a race like the Seymour Cup, that’s the race for him.”
The $150,000 Listed Seymour Cup (1600m) is due to run on October 21 at Seymour Racecourse.
Also ruled out of Epsom Handicap Day for team Darley is last Saturday’s Listed Dulcify Quality winner Proverb who will not run in the $400,000 Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m), while they are also without a representative in both the $400,000 Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) for fillies and the $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m).
“Proverb is not going to the Spring Champion Stakes so we won’t have a runner in that race, and the stable doesn’t have anything in the Flight Stakes or The Metropolitan,” Snowden confirmed.
Despite their last-start defeat Fat Al remains the narrow $5 favourite in the Epsom Handicap odds followed closely by Chris Waller’s recent George Main Stakes champion Shoot Out ($5.50).
Ambidexter can be found a little further down the markets at $10, Snowden confident in his decision to skip last weekend’s Shannon Stakes and go into the Epsom fresh.
“He was very good first-up, that’s the way this horse races best, when he is fresh,” Snowden said.
“I’m very happy with the horse’s condition going into the Epsom.”
The 2012 Epsom Handicap final field and barrier draw are due for release on Wednesday and will be published right here at Races.com.au so stay tuned.
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