Academus must step up at Doomben
Peter Snowden concedes a lack of experience may be against Academus providing Darley with successive wins in the Saturday's Champagne Classic at Doomben.by AAP
By Glenn Davis
BRISBANE, May 18 AAP - Peter Snowden concedes a lack of experience may be against Academus providing Darley with successive wins in the Saturday's Champagne Classic at Doomben.
Sheikh Mohammed's Darley operation won last year's Group Two feature with Free Wheeling who has returned for the Brisbane winter carnival and will line up in the Group Three BRC Sprint (1350m).
Academus has started only once but produced an outstanding performance to come from off the pace to finish an unlucky second at Hawkesbury on May 5.
The son of Lonhro pulled hard after settling back in the field and was carted wide on the home before going down less than a length to Villa Splendido.
"It was a huge run but he faces a tough task against this field," Snowden said.
"I want him to be competitive as I'm looking at going on to the Sires' and TJ Smith with him if runs well.
"But he's meeting a lot of horses in this with much more experience than him.
"Gerald Ryan's runner (Dances On Stars) goes very well as does the favourite Sizzling and I was very impressed with Noogoora Burr's win last week."
Snowden is using Saturday's Group Three Fred Best Classic as a guide to see if Mental is up to next month's Group One Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm.
Mental scored a dominant win over 1200 metres at Hawkesbury earlier this month in his first start for nearly six months.
A winner of four of his seven starts, Mental is on the second line of Stradbroke betting at $10 behind $7.50 favourite Sea Siren, winner of last week's Group One BTC Cup at Doomben.
"I'm taking one race at a time with Mental but I'm happy the way he is going," Snowden said.
"He's got a good hope tomorrow but I want to see how he competes against this class before deciding on the Stradbroke.
"If he doesn't go for the Stradbroke the easier option is the Queensland Guineas."
The Group Two Queensland Guineas (1400m) is at Eagle Farm on June 2, a week before the $1 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
The Queensland Guineas also shapes as the major winter goal for Free Wheeling if he performs up to expectations in the Group Three BRC Sprint (1350m).
"Free Wheeling is coming off a good win in the Hawkesbury Guineas," Snowden said.
"He's up in class and down a lot in weight and I'm expecting him to be very competitive."