Darley sprinter Epaulette will have the opportunity to record his third victory at Group 1 level when he returns to the races in the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic (formerly known as the Patinack Farm Classic) at Flemington on Saturday.
After a mixed autumn campaign, that included a second place finish behind equine superstar Black Caviar in the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) and an impressive victory in the Group 1 Doomben 10,000 (1350m), Epaulette made his spring debut with a lackluster seventh place finish behind Samaready in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday.
Trainer Peter Snowden said that he was unable to figure out why Epaulette ran so poorly in the Moir Stakes but is hopeful that the Commands entire failed to handle the tight-turning Moonee Valley circuit and is confident he can bounce back to his best form down the Flemington straight this weekend.
“He went terribly in the Moir Stakes,” Snowden told News Limited.
“We don’t know what happened, perhaps he didn’t handle Moonee Valley so we didn’t take him back there for the Manikato.”
Apart from his Moir Stakes flop, Epaulette has never missed a placing in four first-up runs and Snowden said that he has made a deliberate effort to send the four-year-old into the VRC Sprint Classic fresh; only giving him a jump out over 800 metres down the Flemington straight on October 24.
“We have kept him fresh, he races best this way, and he trialled really well down the Flemington straight the other day,” Snowden said
“He has great form fresh and this is the sort of race that will suit Epaulette.
“He can get back and the build into the race over the final 400m.”
The Darley team has had a successful 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, winning the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) with Long John, the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) with Guelph and the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) with Complacent, and Snowden is hoping he can finish the spring with another Group 1 victory; with anyone of his three chances in the VRC Sprint Classic.
“We have had a very good carnival but it would be great to finish it off with another winner or two,” Snowden said.
“The stable has some nice runners throughout the day so fingers crossed.”
You can find the best VRC Sprint Classic odds for Epaulette or any other runner in the field at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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