Darley stallions had a lucrative Sunday at the Canberra track with a stakes double. Epaulette, a son of Commands, winning the $250,000 Kamberra Wine Company ¬†Black Opal Stakes and Hood, by Shamardal, leading all the way to win the $100,000 National Sprint over 1400m.
A three-quarter brother to Gr 1 winner Helmet (Exceed And Excel), Epaulette showed plenty of speed to race in second place behind ¬†Later Gator (More Than Ready) in the early stages of the 1200m contest.¬†Later Gator was clear in the straight but Epaulette came with a strong run to wear her down, Faustus (More Than Ready) running on hard in the closing stages to get within a half-head of Epaulette at the finish.
“I know there‚Äôs a good bit of fitness in him,‚Äù trainer Peter Snowden said. “I had him as good as I could today but I‚Äôm sure there‚Äôs still a bit more to go in the horse.There will need to be but all the signs are at this stage are good.‚Äù
“I had him at the head of our two-year-olds and he hasn’t disappointed me. I think he’s a Slipper horse.”
“We had a couple of game plans but he began really well so I was able to use that speed to get across,‚Äù winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy told Sky Racing World.”He wasn‚Äôt really enjoying that ground [slow] from half way, he got on the wrong leg around the bend so I was a little bit worried but he battled it out really well.
“There‚Äôs no doubt he‚Äôs going to have to improve again to be in Slipper contention but there‚Äôs every chance that he could.‚Äù
The Tait family-homebred Hood won his first stakes race with an all the way win in the $100,000 Listed Magnet Mart National Sprint (1400m). Bounced out of the gates and¬†ridden to the front by Blake Shinn, Hood (5 g Shamardal – Whisked, by Whiskey Road) made all the running, clear into the straight and scoring a comfortable win, defeating the fast finishing Onethelookout (Beautiful Crown) by one and a quarter lengths with Alma’s Fury (Refuse To Bend) a half-neck back in third.
Hood ¬†now has 4 wins 18 starts for earnings of $149,680 and is the 34th stakes winner for his sire.