Redzel is favourite to win the $1 million Darley Classic at Flemington.
Flemington straight racing is a different beast and with that in mind co-trainer Peter Snowden says experience is a huge factor for Redzel in the Group One Darley Classic.
Redzel won a Group Three race over 1000m straight race at last year’s Flemington carnival, a race Snowden, who trains in partnership with son Paul, describes as the gelding’s personal best.
The now five-year-old defeated evergreen sprinter Terravista who is also an opponent in Saturday’s 1200m Flemington sprint.
“The day he beat Terravista here was his career best and I’ll hang on to that,” Snowden said.
“It’s the hardest track to race on, especially a sprinter that’s a fast sprinter.
“They get it wrong and they fall apart quickly.”
Since defeating Terravista last year, Redzel has raced seven times, registering five wins and two narrow seconds.
He won the Doomben 10,000 in May and is undefeated in three starts this campaign, culminating in the inaugural running of The Everest, earning his connections a $5.8 million pay cheque.
After that race Snowden set his sights on Saturday’s race with a view to keeping the gelding fresh, a tactic that worked leading into The Everest.
The five-year-old was re-acquainted with the Flemington straight in a jump-out on October 27.
“He’s a really relaxed horse now and the case in the trial was I didn’t want to bust him,” Snowden said.
“I wanted to see him jump well and relax, which is what he did.”
Snowden said Redzel’s racing style was suited to the Flemington straight.
Redzel has got natural speed to race handy with Snowden saying it will be up to Kerrin McEvoy to get the “maths right”.
“Kerrin’s very good at rating him,” Snowden said.
“It’s not going as fast as you can it’s about rating how fast you go and making it harder for those backmarkers to run you down.
“If you get those sections wrong and run the first half quick, the backmarkers will have a good crack at you, but if you maintain a nice pace and at the end they have to run sub 22 (seconds) to beat you, they can’t.”
Redzel is the $4.20 favourite and while Snowden is not underestimating the opposition that includes Vega Magic ($4.80), Chautauqua ($6.50), In Her Time (7.50) and Impending ($8), he’s confident the gelding’s ability will carry him a long way.
“He was in career-best form before The Everest and I think he’s maintained that,” Snowden said.