Fri, Nov 8, 4:39pm by Daryl Curnow
THE powerhouse stable of Peter Snowden, backed by Sheikh Mohammed of Darley Stud, has a strong hand in the $1 million Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic at Flemington, but they have opted to change tack with their two of their three entrants.
Four-year-old Doomben 10,000 winner Epaulette has been disappointing in two runs since his breakthrough performance in the Group 1 Brisbane feature, but will undergo a gear change in the hopes he’ll return to form.
The son of Commands wore a visor at his most recent start when running seventh in the Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley; instead he’ll now be fitted with winkers in which he wore when taking out the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes as a three-year-old.
“He has had both on in races and I’m just looking for something different,” said Snowden. “He’s a colt and we need to keep him thinking.”
Kerrin McEvoy has stuck with Epaulette even after riding stable-mate Sessions, who will wear a norton bit in the hopes to have him race more generously. The four-year-old has put together an impressive record of five wins and four placing’s from ten starts, his best effort coming in the Group 1 Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley when running third behind Buffering and Hong Kong raider, Lucky Nine.
“He wouldn’t settle at Moonee Valley and that’s what beat him,” said Snowden.
Despite Sessions’ impressive record, he’s currently $19 at Sportsbet.com.au, whereas Epaulette is at $10. The third Darley runner, Sidestep, is quoted as a $21 shot from an outside alley.
Darley also line up Barbed in the Hilton Hotels & Resorts Stakes, who will look to avenge the disappointment of his last start. The three-year-old started a $1.60 favourite after winning his first two races with ease, followed by an unlucky second to Coolmore Stud Stakes winner Zoustar, but his luck was to change after leaving the gates. The Canny Lad gelding knuckled down badly, almost dislodging his rider Christian Reith, resulting in tailing the field by two lengths. The best backed runner that day made ground around the outside of runners and even looked likely to win but found it too tough in the concluding stages. A vet test found no abnormalities and Barbed will be sent out a hot favourite at Flemington.
In other news, Gai Waterhouse didn’t have long to enjoy her Melbourne Cup victory with Fiorente as she faces an inquiry about the treatment of her Melbourne Cup entrant, Tres Blue.
Waterhouse fronted the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on Friday to answer charges laid on her over the use of an antibiotic cream on Tres Blue in the Melbourne Cup. The hearing has been delayed due to a request by Waterhouse’s legal team and will now be held on the following Friday. Tres Blue, the former French stayer, was allowed to run as stewards believed the cream was a legal substance but he dropped out to finish second-to-last in a dismal effort.
2013 hasn’t been kind to Waterhouse following the controversial, but entertaining row with former owner John Singleton over the treatment and decisions made by Waterhouse in regards to the Singleton-owner mare, More Joyous.
Because of the adjournment, a hearing involving Dunaden’s trainer Mike Delzangles has been brought forward on Friday. Delzangles will appear for charges that he treated Dunaden for ulcers on the morning of the Melbourne Cup, where he ran 11th.
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