Top Sydney trainer Peter Snowden plays a very strong hand in Saturday week’s Stradbroke Handicap 2013 with three from his stables among the first declarations for the classic taken today, one of which is his roughie tip Complicate.
There were 40 horses accepted for in first declarations for the $1.36 million Group 1 AAMI Stradbroke Handicap (1400m), running at Eagle Farm Racecourse on June 8, the early favourite of which is Snowden’s Doomben 10,000 champion Epaulette.
Winner of the Golden Rose against their own age last year, the Commands colt proved the class of this current crop of three-year-olds once again last Saturday with their big two length effort in the 10,000.
They are now dominating Stradbroke Handicap betting despite having been allocated a hefty 56kg which is just two kilos less than the Rob Heathcote-trained topweight Buffering who was third in the Doomben 10,000 over the weekend.
While no denying Epaulette is Snowden’s best chance at the Stradbroke Handicap trophy, the dual Group 1 winner could be joined by both Academus and Complicate in the final field Saturday week.
Lonhro gelding Academus and Complicate will first face off this Saturday at Eagle Farm’s Queensland Oaks Day meeting however when they vie for a Stradbroke ballot exemption in the $350,000 Group 2 Queensland Guineas (1400m).
First-up winner of the Group 3 Gold Coast Guineas (1200m), Academus is likely to start the shorter priced of the two for the Guineas having won three of their nine starts to date for $478,200 in prize money.
Snowden has warned punters not to write off Commands gelding Complicate for either the Guineas or the Stradbroke however blaming bad barriers for their two last runs.
“I think Complicate is a better horse. I think he is a more true horse,” he said.
“Academus does things wrong, while the other horse tries his backside off and he always seems to have bad gates.
“Because of the bad barriers recently, Complicate gets only a little time for a breather and they are at him again. He has won races like that, but you can’t keep doing that.”
Second-up winner of the Listed Canberra Guineas (1400m) back in March, Complicate was also competitive in the Listed Gosford Guineas (1200m) in April when second to Ichihara.
After drawing the outside gate (9 of 9) for the Listed Hawkesbury Guineas (1400m) on May 4 however they did well to finish under a length away fifth to the fellow Snowden-trained Limes.
They were last seen finishing fourth to Platinum Kingdom in the Group 3 Fred Best Classic (1350m) at Doomben on May 18th, another stellar effort according to Snowden after they jumped from 14 of 16 and were still only beaten 1.1 lengths.
With three wins from 10 starts Complicate has racked up less than half the prize money of Academus with just $213,330 and Snowden knows a win in the Guineas is likely essential for them to live up to their Stradbroke potential the next Saturday.
“It all depends on what they do Saturday; that will tell us which way to go with them. But it was always my plan to give them both a crack at the Stradbroke,” Snowden said.
Snowden should be thrilled with Complicate’s barrier five draw for Saturday having said earlier in the week an inside draw would be advantageous for the progressive galloper.
“I’d love to get a gate where he could get a nice spot in the first 50m and then give him a breather,” he said
“Complicate could race anywhere you wanted.
“He could be first, third, or second last. He is very adaptable … if he draws anywhere between one to five, I will be laughing.”
“He has got a great turn of foot and I think he is a real Stradbroke horse.”
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