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Peter and Paul Snowden have won their third Black Opal Stakes in partnership after Kalashnikov claimed Canberra’s feature two-year-old sprint on Sunday.

Kalashnikov follows in the footsteps of former Snowden two-year-olds Defcon (2016) and Barbaric (2020) to take out the Black Opal Stakes in Canberra.

Settled in the box seat behind early leader Rocket Tiger, Kalashnikov saved ground along the rail before moving off heels into the clear at the 300m.

The colt claimed the lead from a gallant Rocket Tiger at the 100m before holding off the closing Solar Winds late, in turn all but confirming his spot in the $3.5million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill on March 20.

“He was always going to get the run of the race today and obviously James (McDonald) adds another dimension to it,” co-trainer Paul Snowden said.

“As long as he comes through it well, there is no reason not to line up (in the Golden Slipper),”

“He deserves a spot now.”

Unplaced in his first three starts, Kalashnikov has turned a corner, winning his past two starts having claimed the Black Opal Stakes off a maiden success at Gosford on February 13.

“He has always promised a lot,” Snowden said.

“He is probably his own worst enemy in a way. He was very erratic and always a little bit strong in his races early on. This preparation we have really concentrated on getting him settling. The fruits are starting to show.”

“His last effort at Gosford, albeit a maiden, he did it three deep no cover.”

Kalashnikov’s win also continues the encouraging start to their 2016 Golden Slipper winner Capitalist’s stud career.

The Black Opal is Capitalist’s second stakes win as a sire after Tycoon Humma won a stakes event down the Flemington straight on February 27.

“We had his first winner Captivant,” Snowden said.

“To have his progeny winning these really good races, it’s a big thrill and franks what he has been doing at stud in his short career – he has been hitting the mark.”

Written by Alex Steedman

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