Gary Harley- The Herald -14.11.20

Signore Fox’s slashing recent trial win at Randwick on October 30 has convinced his co-trainer Peter Snowden that the five-year-old has an undeniable chance in Saturday’s The TAB Hunter (1300m) at Newcastle Racecourse.

A crackerjack field of sprinters will line up in what is now Newcastle’s richest race. Godolphin’s bonnie mare Savatiano won the inaugural Hunter last year with James McDonald in the saddle. Snowden who trains in partnership with his son Paul, has trained the winners of all five of Newcastle Group events- Newcastle Gold Cup, Cameron Handicap, Spring Stakes, Tibbie Stakes and Newcastle Newmarket.

Peter Snowden is currently in Melbourne with a team of horses however, he discussed the prospects of his two Hunter runners on Thursday. “I believe Signore Fox has a great chance now that he has drawn the rails barrier and the prospect of a Good 4 track. He has a great turn of foot when held up and he sprinted quickly in the straight to win his recent trial.

Signore Fox came from the tail of the field in his last start at Randwick when beaten 1.7 lengths by Trumbull in the Sydney Stakes. He has had three starts at Newcastle for a win and a second and Jeff Penza who has ridden him in four of his past five starts has the mount. Signore Fox does not race well when the tracks are rain affected, so we are hoping for a Good 4.

My other runner in The Hunter, Brave Song, also needs a firm track. He hasn’t won a race for a while and has drawn awkwardly but he is capable of a bold showing,” Snowden said.

The Group 3, 1600 metre New Zealand Bloodstock Spring Stakes for three-year-old’s, is the main support race on the mammoth nine race program. The Spring Stakes was held at Randwick in 2017 and Kris Lees trained the winner Invincible Gem and he has Saturday’s early favourite Perfect Radiance. The Snitzel filly has two wins from two starts at Newcastle and she was narrowly beaten at Randwick last start. Brenton Avdulla, who won the race on Invincible Gem, will ride Perfect Radiance.

The 900 metre Max Lees Classic for two-year-old’s kicks off the meeting on Saturday. The inaugural running of this race, named after Newcastle 20-time Group 1 winning trainer, was won by Jonker in 2017. Jonker’s former trainer David Atkins is represented this year by the filly Carartic, a recent trial winner at Gosford. All twelve runners are on debut with Sliders (James Cummings), Pippa Charlotte (Annabel Neasham), Baby Wong (Stephen Jones) and Snowdrop (Damian Lane) all with good trial form.

The final event, the 1300 metre Hunter Valley Premium Meats T-Bone Steaks Benchmark 88 Handicap, is a cracking race. The 2020 Provincial Championship winner Through The Cracks returns to Broadmeadow where he races so well. The gelding has a win and two seconds from three starts on the track. His first up run at Randwick on October 24 was a ripper.

The talented Branxton gelding Two Big Fari, winner of six from ten, has drawn perfectly. He was close fifth in last months $1.3 million Kosciuszko at Randwick. The smart Eleven Eleven and last start winner Hilo are also in the competitive field.