Peter Snowden is banking on class to compensate for a fitness doubt when Pride Of Dubai makes one of racing’s most-anticipated comebacks of the season.
Off the scene because of injury since last year’s Sydney autumn carnival, the Blue Diamond Stakes winner resumes with 60.5kg in the Group Three Eskimo Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.
The valuable colt has been made the early favourite to make a winning return after his spring campaign was brought to halt with bruising to a hind joint.
But his co-trainer isn’t as comfortable as bookmakers are in declaring Pride Of Dubai the horse to beat.
“He hasn’t raced for 10 months, that’s the key. It’s been a long time since he’s raced,” Snowden said.
“He’s probably going to need this race on Saturday. A trial can do one thing for him but there’s no doubt a race will be that much better and he’s probably a bit vulnerable on Saturday because of that.
“In saying that he’s a very good horse who always runs well no matter what level of fitness he has.”
After just four starts, Pride Of Dubai is already a dual Group One winner and the colt steps out for the first time since winning the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes at Randwick in April 2015.
His opposition will include Counterattack, the Chris Waller-trained colt who is first-up since his spring placing in the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes.
Counterattack has been the first horse backed to beat Pride Of Dubai, firming from $6 to $4.60 when markets opened while the favourite eased from $3 to $3.20.
Snowden will be two-pronged in the Eskimo Prince with Wolf Cry stepping back into stakes grade after winning the rich Magic Millions race for maidens at the Gold Coast last month.
Wolf Cry holds down the third line of betting as a $7 chance and Snowden says the key to his prospects are obvious.
“He is going to present in very good order on Saturday,” he said. “He is a horse ready to go.”
Gai Waterhouse will unveil a new stable addition when well-performed Zoutenant resumes in the race as a $26 chance.