By Ray Hickson
The defending champion, the recently crowned champion sprinter of Australia, the nation’s highest stakeswinning sprinter – it can’t be possible that Redzel is the underdog of the $13m TAB Everest?
It only takes one below par performance to fall out of favour at the top level and Redzel’s defeat in the Premiere Stakes saw him do just that with punters but not trainers Peter and Paul Snowden.
In fact, Peter Snowden says what has happened in the days since the Premiere have only served to give him confidence the real Redzel will be in action at Randwick on Saturday.
And not carrying the pressure of public expectation suits him too.
“That’s great, I love it,’’ he said.
“The setback wasn’t planned, I was disappointed the way it happened and it might have been a blessing. I couldn’t be happier with him at the moment.
“He looks so much better, he has tightened right up and his coat has come good. It’s amazing how much he has improved from the run.’’
All appeared in order when Redzel won the Concorde Stakes first-up but Snowden was fuming after the gelding’s Premiere Stakes run where he led and set up a track record time for the Randwick 1200m of 1:07.45.
Punters Intel data shows Redzel ran 23.27 for his first 400m which resulted in him running the second slowest last 200m of 11.54 but he was still brave enough to run fifth behind Santa Ana Lane.
With the benefit of hindsight, Snowden said the six-year-old was way too fresh given the work that had to be done to get him over the setback that forced him out of The Shorts two weeks earlier.
“It was probably only natural he was above himself, a month between runs he normally has a barrier trial in between and he didn’t have that,’’ he said.
“I was critical on the day but it was no fault of Kerrin’s, he said the horse pulled all the way to the barriers and he never does that. Since that race I’ve been impressed with how he’s tightened up.’’
Redzel, $8 with TAB prior to the barrier draw, has his final piece of work on Tuesday morning then tapers off ahead of Saturday’s race.
Such is the strength of the race, which features 10 Group 1 winners, on Monday there was only $10 separating the entire 12 horse field.
“It’s a very strong race. The barrier draw is going to be so crucial,’’ Snowden said.
Redzel wins the Concorde Stakes at Randwick on September 1
“You can make a case for every runner in the race. There is not one weak link in the chain. There’s probably two or three lengths between first and last.’’
Snowden described winning the inaugural Everest as the greatest day he’s had on a racecourse and doesn’t dare to think so far ahead as to what a second Everest might mean.
But from low expectations when he first arrived in the stable to amassing over $8.8 million in prizemoney has been quite a training performance.
“I’ve been very lucky with racing, it has been very good to me, but that day was a very special day,’’ Snowden said.
“I was only talking to Paul about this the other day, when he came to us he was a nice horse but he was just racing below what we thought he could do.
“With time and patience and some experimenting with him he started to come good but I never thought he’d be the sprinter he is now.
“I was really chuffed when he won Australian sprinter of the year the other night.’’