Clearly the most enjoyable aspect of Peter Snowden’s job as head trainer for Darley Australia is preparing winners.
A less pleasing task is saying goodbye to them when they become good enough to catch the attention of his boss, Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum.
Mental, the winner of Saturday’s Group One Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington fits into both categories.
The son of Lonhro will leave Snowden’s stable this week to go into quarantine before being shipped off to Dubai for the northern hemisphere winter and then travel to Britain to join Sheikh Mohammed’s European team.
“It’s a bit sad seeing them go, but it’s part of my job,” Snowden said.
Snowden said Mental ranked as the best horse he’d sent to the Sheikh, which is a measure of his opinion of the horse whose Patinack win was his seventh from 12 starts.
Previous exports from the Snowden stable include Sepoy and Helmet who failed to run up to their excellent Australian form, while comparative lesser lights like Soul and Retrieve have scored important victories.
“I’ve probably sent them 15 or 20 horses so far, but I think this is the best of them,” Snowden said.
Mental ($7) responded stylishly to jockey Kerrin McEvoy’s riding to score by three-quarters-of-a-length from the $4 favourite Sea Siren with Hallowell Belle ($14) three lengths away third.
The win reversed the Manikato Stakes result from two weeks ago when Sea Siren scored at Moonee Valley, but it didn’t surprise Snowden.
“He was good in Brisbane last season and he’s been stepping up a level almost every run he’s had,” he said.
Sea Siren again provided the sternest opposition, staying close to Mental from the jump.
But when McEvoy applied the pressure 300m out, Jim Cassidy on Sea Siren had to ride hard to go with the winner.
Hallowell Belle got a long way out her ground early and did the best of a tired-looking bunch behind the first two.