He might not have a picture of her on his wall but Gai Waterhouse has become somewhat of a pin-up for Randwick neighbour Peter Snowden.
Three days out from Disclaimer’s bid to win the Group One Metropolitan at Randwick, a race Waterhouse has won a record-equalling seven times, Snowden revealed he had been observing the Melbourne Cup trainer’s methods closely.
In spite of his extraordinary success with Sheikh Mohammed, there is no trace of arrogance in Snowden.
He admits training independently for the first time has presented fresh challenges, as has the move from Warwick Farm to Randwick.
“It’s a learning curve for me being at Randwick,” Snowden said.
“You observe, you listen to Gai’s work and listen to a few other boys’ work. I wouldn’t say I changed things around a lot but I just listen and watch their horses.
“You’ve got to learn from those people. They’ve got there, not by a mistake or a fluke, but because they know what they’re doing.
“Anyone can teach you something and I’m only too willing to learn and take it all in.”
Snowden’s journey is reflected in Disclaimer.
As head trainer for Sheikh Mohammed, buying horses from overseas to target feature Australian races was not part of the brief.
Disclaimer came to Snowden via John O’Shea as a Listed winner in England and produced mixed efforts at his first four Australian starts.
It prompted Snowden to increase the horse’s workload, a ploy which produced the desired effect with Disclaimer scoring a dynamic Newcastle Cup win.
“It’s just been a bit of work, a bit of hard Aussie yakka,” Snowden said.
Snowden is confident Disclaimer has continued to thrive since Newcastle.
He was upbeat about the horse’s Metropolitan chances until Disclaimer drew barrier 15 of 16.
“They gave us the visitor’s draw. It’s a bit awkward too, it’s not a good start to draw wide from,” Snowden said.
“It’s disappointing because I was hoping he’d run well. He still may, it’s not the end of the world but he needs a bit of luck now.”
Victorian Araldo is the only horse drawn wider than Disclaimer while Junoob fared best of Chris Waller’s quintet of runners with gate three.
Waterhouse’s sole runner Travolta drew ideally in barrier two.