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Gosford preview: Track condition key to expensive colt’s debut for Snowden camp

Controvert, a $1.2 million yearling purchase, is a high-profile colt making a low-key start to his race career at the Gosford provincial meeting.

But this is a deliberate tactic by trainers Peter and Paul Snowden to give the regally-bred three-year-old the best opportunity to get his race career off to a winning start.

James Harron, renowned as one the best judges of yearlings in the business, admitted there is a sense of anticipation about Controvert’s first race.

“We didn’t think he was going to be an early type so we have been patient with him,’’ Harron said.

“But he seems to have come up well this preparation so now is the time for him to put his ‘hand’ up.’’

Controvert is by champion sire I Am Invincible out of the unraced Fastnet Rock mare Mrs Boxall and is closely related on his dam’s side to 1985 Golden Slipper winner Rory’s Jester.

Harron said the colt was a standout at the 2019 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale and needed a bid of $1.2 million secure him.

“He had a lot of quality and class about him as a yearling and he has developed into a beautiful type,’’ Harron said.

Controvert ran second in three trials during his juvenile season but the Snowden stable delayed his racetrack debut until this spring after an impressive Hawkesbury heat win where he unleashed a brilliant burst of acceleration before a fourth in heavy going at Randwick last month.

Trainer Peter Snowden says a lot depends on a track upgrade to whether Controvert makes his debut at Gosford.Source:AAP

“Robbie Dolan rode Controvert in both trials and said he wasn’t as effective on the heavy so he gave him an easy time of it at Randick,’’ Harron added.

Gosford’s track rating was a slow 6 late on Monday with the likelihood of an upgrade before Tuesday’s race meeting.

Trainer Peter Snowden said the track conditions will ultimately determine if Controvert goes to the races.

“We are watching how the track is drying out,’’ Snowden said. “He’s a colt with ability, he’s a nice horse.’’

Snowden, who is stuck in Melbourne under the border restrictions are relaxed on November 23, also has promising three-year-old fillies Sahra entered for the Benchmark 64 Handicap (1200m) and Party Lady in the Maiden Plate (1100m).

Sahra showed considerable promise during winter, winning on debut at the provincials before a second placing behind boom colt North Pacific at Rosehill.

North Pacific has trained on to win the Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes and finish the closest of seconds to Ole Kirk in the Group 1 Golden Rose.

Snowden said Sahra was given an easy barrier trial at Randwick about a month ago and is ready to return to the races.

“We have also entered Sahra for a class 1 race at Hawkesbury on Wednesday,’’ the champion trainer said.

“She has drawn well in both races but we might keep her for Hawkesbury.’’

Party Lady, a filly by super sire Redoute’s Choice, was unplaced on a heavy track at her only start in June and Snowden is monitoring closely the Gosford track rating.

“We will see how the track comes up in the morning as she needs to be on top of the ground,’’ Snowden said.

“She trialled nicely at Randwick a couple of weeks ago and we are very happy about how she is coming up this campaign.’’

Meanwhile, Snowden confirmed Signore Fox and Brave Song will represent the stable in the $1 million The Hunter (1300m) at Newcastle on Saturday.

“Signore Fox is going great and Brave Song needs a dry track so they should both be suited at Newcastle,’’ he said.

Trainer Ron Quinton has high hopes Shotgun Alli can deliver on debut.Source:AAP

DEBUTANTE GETS QUINTON’S ENDORSEMENT

Hall of Famer Ron Quinton is impressed by first-starter Shotgun Alli’s attitude and natural ability.

“Each time Shotgun Alli has trialled she has gone quite well,’’ Quinton enthused.

“She jumps away well and has got the early speed to put herself up on the pace so she helps herself in that regard. Hopefully, she can bring her trial form to the races.’’

Shotgun Alli, a well-bred filly by Smart Missile out of Always Allison, makes her debut in the Fillies and Mares Maiden (1100m) at Gosford.

The likelihood of a soft track doesn’t deter Quinton as Shotgun Alli has trialled well three times in rain-affected conditions including her impressive win at Randwick in a 735m heat nearly two weeks ago.

Quinton said the barrier draw which has Shotgun Alli coming out of gate two is also an advantage for the three-year-old filly.

“I’m happy with the barrier, that’s ideal for this filly,’’ he said.

“She got through the heavy well the other day in her Randwick trial and in all likelihood she will go around at Gosford.’’

Shotgun Alli is the only foal produced so far by former smart filly Always Allison, winner of two of her only four starts including the Group 2 Sweet Embrace Stakes.

Always Allison has proven difficult to get in foal, missing to Redoute’s Choice, Medaglia D’Oro, Deep Field, and All Too Hard then slipping to Russian Revolution so hopefully Shotgun Alli is a welcome change of fortune for the broodmare.

Quinton also confirmed talented Royal Celebration is being aimed at the $1 million The Hunter (1300m) at Newcastle on Saturday.

Royal Celebration resumed with a good third to Cuba in the Filante Handicap three weeks ago and Quinton said five-year-old has improved since.

“I thought he ran ‘good’ first-up and he will run in the Hunter if he gets a start,’’ Quinton said.

“He has won five races in the city so he is an awkward horse to place being a benchmark 90.

“But he’s been a good horse for the stable and he seems set for a good campaign. We are heading towards the Villiers Stakes next month.’’

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Originally published asGosford: Track key to expensive colt’s debut

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