It is shaping up as a battle of the Snowden’s with father Peter and son Paul to discuss whether today’s 2013 Caulfield Guineas winner Long John is good enough to back up in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in a fortnight.
The weight-for-age Cox Plate is a very tough race for three-year-olds, something Peter Snowden knows all too well having taken his 2011 Caulfield Guineas winner Helmet there only to see them run eighth to Pinker Pinker.
“We always say that (they are good enough to win the Cox Plate) and I have seen it done but it’s a big ask (for a three-year-old),” he said on TVN after today’s Caulfield Guineas result.
“I thought Helmet was a horse that could do it and it bought him undone.”
A Cox Plate bid however must be considered for the Darley-owned Street Cry gelding Long John after their brave victory in the $1 million Group 1 BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
Winner of the Listed Henry Bucks Best Dressed Stakes (1400m) at Flemington two back, Long John jumped favourite in the Guineas.
They were defeated last start however in the Prelude when third after finding themselves too far back.
It was a different story in the Group 1 however with jockey Kerrin McEvoy giving the star three-year-old a superb run.
“He was given a gun run…just a perfect run,” Snowden said.
“Two weeks ago we got beat…but I thought it was a tremendous run (in the Prelude) and I knew he would improve.”
Long John was positive from their inside barrier one draw, slotting into a position fourth then fifth on the fence with the Prelude winner Éclair Big Bang going on to lead from other frontrunner El Roca and Weinholt.
McEvoy was patient and was able to get his mount off the fence and tracking them at exactly the right time, plenty of carnage going on back on the inside behind them.
It was a tight Caulfield Guineas bunch coming up around the turn, but Long John was best in stride getting onto the straight moving through to the front to put three lengths on them at the top of the run home.
But there was a big challenge coming from last start Group 2 Stutt Stakes winner Divine Calling, Gai Waterhouse’s smart Stratum grey coming for the favourite.
The two were stride for stride, but every call Divine Call made, Long John responded pulling away to win by a quarter length on the line.
“He kicked strong,” Snowden said.
“Had to rally late and dig deep actually…when he’s challenged he does seem to be able to keep lifting and he did that today.”
Finishing off the winning Caulfield Guineas trifecta was then Shamus Award, the Stutt Stakes runner-up storming home to snare another minor place.
Snowden has been thrilled with the progress of Long John who he was definitely not tipping to win the Guineas a month ago.
“I thought he was only going to struggle in the Guineas,” Snowden admitted.
“But he’s just been one of those horses that keeps improving.
“A tough horse, a very tough horse.”
It was a great day for the Darley three-year-olds too as back home in Sydney Snowden’s brilliant Authorized colt Complacent won the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) on way to the $1 million Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday November 2.
“A great day, very satisfying,” Snowden said.
There’s a chance they will be joined in the 2013 Victoria Derby field too by their Caulfield Guineas winning stablemate Long John if they decide to rule out a Cox Plate bid on October 26.
“He felt that well in himself (today) so there’s definitely more to come with him,” Snowden said.
“As to what we do with him in the next two to three weeks we’ll have to wait and see.
“The Derby is a possibility…if he were to run at Moonee Valley then onto Flemington with this horse it’s been a perfect preparation.
As for Snowden Jnr. who has done much of the training of Long John, he would forget the Derby and take them against the older horses in the Cox Plate “for sure”.
“Very confident we had the best horse in this race (today) and Kerrin rode him great, so a great result,” he said.
“He just got off the fence at the right time and probably got there a little bit too soon in the end but he got there and that’s the main thing.
“I would for sure (take him to the Cox Plate).”
Winning hoop McEvoy isn’t fazed where they run him next, all he knows is he rode a very nice type to victory in the Guineas today.
“It’s an honour to win the race again,” he said.
“It’s a real dream to win in the (Darley) colours again.
“He’s obviously a lovely horse.
“I was a bit worried inside the last furlong…but my fella heard him (Divine Calling) coming and he had the dash again.
“It’s up in the air at the moment (the Cox Plate), I’m not sure.
“It’s hard for the three-year-olds to compete in the Cox Plate.
“Is he as good as Helmet? I’m not sure.
“There’s other races for him in the spring.”
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2013 Caulfield Guineas Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 10 – 12/10/2013
|1||4||LONG JOHN||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||–||1||56.5kg||$3.80F|
|2||3||DIVINE CALLING||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||0.5L||10||56.5kg||$13|
|3||5||SHAMUS AWARD||Danny O’Brien||Glen Boss||2.5L||11||56.5kg||$21|
|4||1||DISSIDENT||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||4.25L||13||56.5kg||$8|
|5||10||EL ROCA||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Craig Newitt||6.25L||2||56.5kg||$8.50|
|6||7||PRINCE HARADA||Tony Vasil||Damien Oliver||6.75L||12||56.5kg||$6|
|7||2||CHARLIE BOY||Gerald Ryan||Michael Rodd||7.5L||3||56.5kg||$17|
|8||13||GREAT ESTEEM||David Hayes||Chad Schofield (a)||8.75L||5||56.5kg||$61|
|9||9||LATE CHARGE||Wendy Kelly||Vlad Duric||9.25L||9||56.5kg||$51|
|10||11||CLUSTER||Anthony Cummings||Hugh Bowman||13.25L||8||56.5kg||$17|
|11||12||NITE ROCKER||Lloyd Kennewell||Joe Bowditch||13.65L||14||56.5kg||$81|
|12||8||WEINHOLT||Peter G Moody||Ben Melham||16.4L||6||56.5kg||$31|
|13||14||MARWOOD (NZ)||Michael Moroney||Brett Prebble||21.4L||7||56.5kg||$21|
|14||6||ECLAIR BIG BANG (NZ)||Phillip Stokes||Dom Tourneur||21.6L||4||56.5kg||$9|