Snowdens set sights high for success on Sydney scene

Accomodation for 120 horses at Randwick: Peter and Paul Snowden. Photo: Jason SouthWith a rapidly expanding operation,  the Peter and Paul Snowden team promise to provide a more worthwhile buffer against the domination of Chris Waller in Sydney at a time when trainers rival punters in the whining stakes.

The Snowdens now have accommodation for 120 horses at Randwick, the largest ever at the High Street section, and are seeking even more. Waller continues to produce remarkable numbers and has carried Sydney Saturdays in recent years against very strong opposition. Since Peter Snowden left the Darley operation in 2014 and started from scratch with son Paul, the combination has topped expectations. On Friday, the winner tally in Sydney, 30, was  one behind John O’Shea, trainer for the  Darley operation, with Waller on 87.

On the national front earlier this month, Waller had prepared 138 winners from 916 starters. Ironically, he was on the same strike rate, 6.6, as Gai Waterhouse who had 348 for 53. Overall Snowden had 61 from 304, emphasising growth potential.

But now the stablemate conundrum, very much to the fore with Waller, is creeping in with the Snowdens. Only last Saturday they produced a reversal with Snippets Land ($15 to $8) successful in the Maroubra Mile at Royal Randwick while in the same event the stronger fancy Great Esteem, also prepared by them, wilted badly in the straight.

As expected, the explanation for the Snippets Land improvement, like their training, was professional. On Saturday horse players face a similar Snowden predicament with Wild’N’Famous ($3.20) and El Sasso ($9.50) in the Cellarbrations Handicap at Randwick. On paper El Sasso was miserable last start. Like Snippets Lane in his previous race, El Sasso was wide in the running.

With big stables blotting out the little, trainer punters should adapt to the clash of  stablemates.

When Tommy Smith was in full flight with them, it reached the stage that the Australian Jockey Club considered bracketing them on the tote. And he never had Waller’s number in a race like the five acceptors in the More Than Ready at Randwick, another program lacking Saturday field substance.

Now some trainers, with the NSW Trainers Association getting Glenn Burge as chief executive, want a quick end to the trial period of the handicap spread and big weights. Burge, a turf enthusiast tutored by Ron Quinton, will also be confronted with the track bias debacle due to excessive or irresponsible watering policy.

With recent rain, fast lanes are acceptable at Randwick today but track bias with watering has come into play to a greater extent because some  feel a firm surface has an adverse effect.

Certainly unwatered tracks are best for punters, but when do they get a say? “Racing belongs to no one facet of this giant industry. It belongs to us all – every man, woman and child; every punter in the betting ring and every owner in the sales ring,” Gai Waterhouse blogged. “We also have administrators, trainers, jockeys, breeders, clockers, strappers, stewards and the list goes on.”

Even including hacks, who will continue to pursue a certain ploy into the wind regarding deplorable Sydney Saturdays. Add the irrigating practise of courses to the list. Punters get little  say, less than trainers, on an industry where they make a key contribution. Try this for enlightenment.

“… if you prefer betting on fields of five and six runners with little or no value, slowly run races on biased tracks, with compressed weight scales and jockeys restricted on giving their horse the best chance of winning by the number of times they can hit their mounts with a padded whip then you must be easily pleased,” Heretohelp proclaimed on Racenet. “I’d prefer more genuine run races with a fairer spread of weights, better value and form that can be lined up easier and run by professional race clubs, not a bunch of ego-driven bureaucrats arguing over which state is better.”

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