If ever Peter Snowden has been driven to question his decision to abandon the post at Darley’s head trainer, it would’ve been at about 5.13pm this afternoon.
That was around the time Earthquake crossed the line in her sensational win in the $1 million Group 1 Sportingbet Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.
The daughter of Exceed And Excel maintained her unbeaten run – three wins from as many starts – and earned comparisons with some of the great modern-day fillies with her stunning victory in Victoria’s premier juvenile event.
It came just a few months after Snowden announced that he would relinquish the position as the main man in Sheikh Mohammed’s Australian operation, to start up a training partnership with son Paul, with John O’Shea to take over the reins at the start of May.
“It’s certainly made it a bit bigger decision now,” Snowden said smiling.
“I thought about the decision for a long before I did it and I still don’t regret what I’m doing even though a lot of people will say I’m mad after today.
“This job’s been so good to me and Paul and to leave it on a good note is better than leaving on a sour note or not on a winning note, so this is all-important.
“We’ve still got two more months to go yet, though, and hopefully we can kick a few more goals along the way.
Earthquake charged to Golden Slipper favouritism – at $2.80 – after her Blue Diamond win, when she overcome the second-widest starting position in the 16-horse field to score an emphatic win.
Leading Queensland jockey Damian Browne found a spot three off the fence with cover just behind the leading trio, one of which was fellow boom Sydney youngster Rubick, but still had to be clicked up around 450m from home.
But just as she did in her Blue Diamond Prelude, which she won easily, the $2.90 favourite exploded in the straight and swept past her rivals to score a 1.5-length win over Jabali ($15) with that Mick Price-trained colt’s stablemate Cornrow ($61) just a neck back third.
Rubick had to settle for fourth placing, around three lengths from the winner, while the other unbeaten runner going into the event, the Gai Waterhouse-trained Nayeli ($8.50), raced on the pace but dropped out sharply in the straight to beat home just one rival.
Snowden hinted post-race that he got a huge kick out of watching Earthquake in action.
“Once she balanced up, she pricked her ears and went to them and I thought ‘oh my god, what’s in the tnak here’?” he said. “That was special.”
Snowden confirmed that Earthquake would now be given the chance to emulate another superstar youngster he prepared, Sepoy, who completed the Blue Diamond-Golden Slipper double in 2011.
“That’s only her second start,” he said. “I didn’t tell anyone what I was thinking about, but that has always been the plan.
“She’s got to pull up well, she comes first, but if she comes through (well), she’s had the perfect preparation for a Golden Slipper.
“She’s only had three starts now and she keeps on improving. I never thought I’d get another Sepoy, I may not and this filly isn’t him as yet, but she’s doing things similar to what he did.”
Story by Brad Bishop