Trainer Peter Snowden concedes the clash between classy three-year-olds Smart Image and Aim is unavoidable at Randwick’s Kensington meeting.
“They are both getting ready for the (Magic Millions) Guineas in a couple of weeks so they need to run,’’ Snowden said. “It’s not an ideal situation but hopefully they will both run well.’’
The Snowden stablemates are taking on older horses but they dominate TAB Fixed Odds betting with Smart Image early favourite at $2.40 and Aim is next at $6.
Smart Image, winner of three of his four starts including a dynamic comeback win at Canterbury, is entitled to favouritism as he is proven on soft tracks, but there remains a query on Aim’s ability to get through rain-affected conditions.
“I think the track will be about a heavy 8,’’ said Snowden, who trains in partnership with his son, Paul.
“Smart Image is definitely better on top of the ground but he does get through soft going.
“His only defeat was on a bog and perhaps he had had enough that day so it’s not conclusive that he doesn’t handle heavy.
“If it is a seven or eight track rating he should be right. He’s had that Canterbury run under his belt which helps.’’
Aim is resuming from a spell and has been gelded since he last raced. The application he has shown in his two barrier trial wins in recent weeks are encouraging signs that he is ready to live up to his potential.
“I have to run Aim if he is to be going around in the Guineas, he needs the hit-out,’’ Snowden said.
“I probably should have run him last Saturday but I thought the Gosford Guineas was a better race but then the track came up wet.
“Aim is going really well but he’s not the same horse when the track is worse than a 6 or 7 rating.’’
Snowden also has Magic Millions plans for two-year-olds Mura Mura and Jet Pack in the Schweppes Handicap (1150m).
Mura Mura has been placed in each of her three starts and is qualified for the $2 million Magic Millions 2YO Classic but Jet Pack needs to win his debut race to have any chance of making the field for the glamour Gold Coast race on January 16.
The juvenile opener at the Kensington meeting is an intriguing race with first starters Laurelin at $2.90 and Four Moves Ahead $3.30 at the top of betting with Mura Mura at $5 while her stablemate Jet Pack is at $17.
Snowden indicated a change of riding tactics for Mura Mura while he warned punters not to overlook the chances of Jet Pack.
“Mura Mura has a good draw and being the first race, the inside should be OK,’’ the trainer said.
“We plan to take a sit (Saturday), ride her just off the speed. We tried to do that at Warwick Farm last start but they just went too slow early and she ended up in front.
“She is a different filly if ridden with cover because she will find the line.
“Jet Pack is a bit of a sleeper. He’s definitely a better horse with the blinkers on and he’s not without a chance from the good draw, too.’’
Snowden also has the consistent Yangarra Rose ($11) lining up in the Precise Air Handicap (1300m) and Brazenpine ($23) contesting the Ravnet Handicap (1100m).
“Yangarra Rose has been racing well at the provincials but the blinkers going on will help her,’’ he said.
“She does like wet tracks, she has no weight on her back and is a hard, fit horse.
“Brazenpine will run unless the track is too heavy. This is a suitable race for her, she should get into the right part of the track from he barrier.’’