Sprint King Redzel In For The Long Haul

By Ray Hickson

Sydney racegoers will have to wait until The Championships to see champion sprinter Redzel in the flesh but trainer Peter Snowden is hoping he can establish a dominance that lasts at least a couple more years.

The Everest hero is a five-year-old and few would argue that he was at the top of his game by the end of 2017 with six wins on end including the inaugural running of the world's richest turf race at Royal Randwick plus the Group 1 Darley Classic.

Snowden said following Redzel's impressive barrier trial win at Rosehill on Monday that there's no reason he can't emulate Chautauqua's longevity.

Chautauqua is now seven and really began his reign as an autumn four-year-old when he claimed the first of his unprecedented three straight Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).

"I hope he stays around another three, four or five years,'' Snowden said of Redzel.

"Touch wood. He's sound, no leg issues with him and he's just a beautiful horse to work with.

“I think he’s a touch better this time, maybe that’s wishful thinking. He’s always been push button for the last 12 months.

“He’s so relaxed and that’s a huge thing at the level he races at.’’

Redzel will make his one and only Sydney appearance this Autumn in the $2.5m TJ Smith Stakes at Randwick on April 7 where he'll look to assume Chautauqua's crown.

Snowden said the gelding is on target for his first-up run in the Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) in Melbourne on Saturday week.

In his first public hitout this year, two weeks earlier, Redzel finished behind Winx in seventh place but it was a different story this time around.

With his blinkers on in his second trial, Redzel assumed the lead early on under Kerrin McEvoy in the 1000m gallop and burst away to win by three lengths, running 58.20 for the trip.

"The race is 12 days away and for Group 1s you need to be really prepared. You need them fit enough to run 1200m to win at that level over 1000m,’’ he said.

"He's had a couple of gallops since that first trial and his work last Thursday morning was very good so I was confident he would trial like that.

"It tells me he is in a good space.''

Snowden said Redzel could have a second run in Melbourne in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes in March as a final lead up to the TJ.