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Trainer Peter Snowden will use this Friday’s 2014 Takeover Target Stakes at Gosford Racecourse as an indicator as to whether his in-form four-year-old Emblems is worthy of bigger things this coming Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
Snowden has nominated for two chances in this year’s $100,000 Listed Takeover Target Stakes (1200m), a race that has produced a number of turf greats over the years.
His More Than Ready gelding Knoydart comes off a first-up win at Canterbury on December 28 while stablemate Emblems is looking to make it three on the trot.
A half-brother to Group 3 winner Bello, Shamardal stallion Emblems resumed at Randwick in early November runner fifth to subsequent Festival Stakes runner-up Terravista.
They improved on that at Randwick’s Kensington track a month later however with a big two and a half length handicap win followed by another, this time a length success over Red Excitement at Rosehill on December 21.
“He is just like Bello – he showed a bit at two, was OK at three but once he got to four he went to another level,” Snowden said to the Sydney Morning Herald this week.
Snowden’s hoping the consistent galloper can keep that form going this week in the Takeover Target Stakes ahead of an autumn campaign.
“This is probably his hardest test but being a handicap, he is going to get well weighted,” he said.
Exactly what races they’ll be aimed for after this is still to be decided but much rides on how they handle the step up in class on Friday.
“He is a progressive horse. There has been a lot of merit in his past two wins,” Snowden said.
“If he happens to run well in it, we would give him a bit of a freshen up and he would be able to come up again in the autumn or even Brisbane (for the winter carnival).”
Gosford Cup Day will be the first time Emblems races in black type company.
Some of their key rivals include the trio of horses that ran the Carrington Stakes trifecta on New Year’s Day with the Gerald Ryan-trained Dances On Stars (1st), Hidden Warrior (2nd) and Dee’N’Gee (3rd).
The 2014 Takeover Target Stakes field and barriers are due out on Wednesday.
Snowden will be hoping for a nice draw for Emblems too after they were forced to do it the hard way last start from gate 12 of 12.
“He had to do plenty of work at his last start and was strong late,” his trainer said.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au to view the final acceptances and gates for all the Gosford races including also the Gosford Gold Cup and Group 3 Belle Of The Turf Stakes (1600m).
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