Darley’s head trainer Peter Snowden has strengthened his chances of a third Group One Spring Champion Stakes win in five years after Tatra led in a stable quinella in Saturday’s Ming Dynasty Quality.
Snowden has won the Group One Spring Champion with Sousa (2008) and Erewhon (2010) and Tatra is heading in the right direction towards next month’s 2000m feature after holding off his fast-finishing stablemate Proverb at Warwick Farm.
Tatra ($5) sat outside the favourite Sumarand ($3.50) up front in the Listed race and fended him off in the straight before holding out Proverb ($17) who flashed through from last along the inside.
The winning margin was only a half-head with 1-1/4-lengths to the David Payne-trained Honorius ($13) in third.
Sumarand weakened late to finish fifth.
“He’ll go to the Gloaming Stakes (over 1800 metres) in two weeks and that will tell us if he’s going to get the 2000 metres or not but I’m confident he will,” Snowden said of Tatra.
“I’ve taken him through quietly and I’m just letting the races get him to the right fitness. He’s not pulling in his races now like he was last preparation which shows me he’s going to get that trip (2000m) later on.”
The surprise of the race for Snowden was Proverb who settled at the tail of the field before winding up in the straight to almost catch his stablemate.
“Proverb was very pleasing today because he was a horse I wasn’t sure about where he was going to fit in,” Snowden said.
“Ridden quietly today he really hit the line hard and I’ll probably look to run him in the Spring Stakes at Newcastle next.”
Snowden, who won the Ming Dynasty with Ambidexter last year, had three runners in Saturday’s race with Limes disappointing in eighth after enjoying a good run in transit.