Arrowfield Demolition Sees Mazu Slot Into Everest Contention

By Ray Hickson

His colours and trainers are synonymous with the TAB Everest and slot holders are circling the exciting Mazu after the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained three-year-old extended his winning run to five in the Group 2 $1m Arrowfield Sprint (1200m) at Randwick.

Mazu's trainers Peter (left) and Paul Snowden (Pic: Bradley Photos).

There’s a sense the gelding could be Redzel 2.0, as he has a number of similar traits to the now retired star sprinter, and all the talk surrounds which TAB Everest slot holder will win the race to represent them in the $15 million sprint classic later this year.

Co-trainer Paul Snowden is well aware of the Everest interest in Mazu, with at least a couple of slot holders already making approaches, and said as impressive as he was in the Arrowfield he needs to go to another level in the spring – but who’s to say he can’t.

“We have the confidence in his ability now, obviously off the back of this I feel he’s going to improve again and that’s what you want to see,’’ Snowden said.

“He’s got to improve again. (Everest talk) is happening, just hopefully it’s not too quick for the horse.”

Snowden said the parallels between Mazu and Redzel are uncanny, though at this stage it’s unfair to draw comparisons between a horse they won two Everests, multiple Group 1s and over $16 million in prizemoney with.

There may have only been four runners in the Arrowfield but Mazu, after sitting outside the leader, drew away from Golden Rose winner In The Congo to score by 1-1/2 lengths with another 2-1/2 to Paulele, who a week earlier filled a minor placing to Nature Strip, in third.

He’s now an $11 chance in the TAB Everest and Snowden said he has the attributes that Redzel possessed and that’s a big head start. Now he has to prove good enough against the best sprinters.

“He’s got that ability to absorb pressure and we all know how good an asset that can be at the top level, especially one race in particular (The Everest),’’ he said.

“When he can absorb pressure like that and kick off the back of it and respond, that’s a very good attribute to have.

“He has aggressiveness, the racing style, the ability to handle wet tracks. All that spells October but we’ll see what happens.”

As it stands only one horse is locked in for the 2022 TAB Everest, though after his failure in the TJ Smith a question mark may hang over Masked Crusader.

Mazu won the Listed Brian Crowley Stakes a week after last year’s Everest and the Snowdens made the decision to geld him. As they did with Redzel when he was three, and he reacted by turning into a star.

However, Redzel was five when he won the inaugural TAB Everest in 2017.

“He was doing things a little bit upside down and he got gelded, we had to start from scratch and we came away with a superstar,’’ Snowden said.

“(Mazu) is earning the tag but he’s still not there yet. But when he keeps ticking these boxes and picking off the opposition the way he is doing along the way, we’re going in the right direction.”

There’s a chance Mazu could continue to Brisbane for a trip away next month, perhaps the Doomben 10,000, but Snowden said after going from a Benchmark 78 win first-up in February to a Group 2 win on Saturday he’s done his job for the preparation.

Jockey Sam Clipperton has formed a fantastic association with Mazu and, like the Snowdens, believes the best is well and truly yet to come.

“This horse is just incredible really,’’ he said.

“Full credit to Peter and Paul (Snowden). It was well documented he was a rogue as a colt but he always had a stack of ability.

“I think we’ve got a serious horse on our hands and there’s a race in October (The Everest) that comes to mind that he may just end up in because he’s certainly good enough.”