Australia Update: Magic King Pops The Champagne

April 22, 2020

King’s Legacy, trained by father-and-son team Peter and Paul Snowden, finished strongly to win the $400,000 Champagne Stakes (1600m), complementing his win in the Sires’ Produce Stakes two weeks ago. Peter Snowden said it is satisfying that the long-range plan to target the Sires and Champagne Stakes double hit a bullseye.

Peter & Paul Snowden with Sepoy after Sepoy (Kerrin McEvoy) trained by Peter Snowden wins the Golden Slipper (Group 1) at Rosehill on April 2, 2011 – photo by Martin King / Sportpix

“There was always a thought in our minds that these were the two races that would suit him. As it has turned out, we’ve got them right,’’ Snowden told Racenet.

“It was a good result. He was given a peach of a ride by Hugh (Bowman). Watching the race he was the one you wanted to be on. He travelled so well and quickened nicely.”

Champion jockey Hugh Bowman completed the coveted Juvenile Triple Crown as King’s Legacy secured a Group 1 double at Royal Randwick after guiding Farnan to a brilliant Golden Slipper win at Rosehill last month.

King’s Legacy also created a piece of racing history by becoming the first juvenile colt by champion sire Redoute’s Choice to win twice at Group 1 level. Remarkably, the colt is a three-quarter brother to Not A Single Doubt, the sire of Farnan.

Bowman rode his 92nd career Group 1 winner as King’s Legacy became the 41st winner of the Sires’-Champagne Stakes double, and the first to win both races since another Team Snowden youngster, Guelph in 2013.

“King’s Legacy is an exceptional colt. He’s got an impeccable pedigree so you can see exactly why, he’s just franked it, he is one of the best colts in the country and I can only see him improving further as a three-year-old,” Bowman said.

“He’s the full package and he is just hitting his straps now as an Autumn two-year-old. As I said you could only see him develop physically, he’s already mentally all there. It’s very exciting what lies ahead.”

“I think it is only the start of what you’ll probably see as a three-year-old,’’ said Snowden, echoing Bowman’s thoughts. “He is definitely going to be a horse that is going to train on and a horse with a lot of substance and a good bit of quality about him.”

“He is a nice colt. He will only get better as a three-year-old, there is no doubt about it. He has got the right attitude, he has got a good turn of foot. He relaxes really well as you saw there today and he can quicken quickly. It is a big asset to have, he is a quality colt and I’m sure we’ll hear a lot more of him later on.”

Snowden said King’s Legacy will have some time off ahead of a spring campaign where the focus will be the Golden Rose (1400m) and Caulfield Guineas (1600m).

King’s Legacy, purchased by leading syndicator James Harron for $1.4 million at the Magic Millions Yearling Sale last year, scored his third win from six starts for nearly $880,000 prizemoney – and the promise of a lot more to come if Bowman and Snowden are right.

Harron’s judgment in spending to secure King’s Legacy at the yearling sales has been vindicated with the colt’s boon of Group 1 juvenile wins making him one of the most valuable stallion prospects in the southern hemisphere.

The colt’s stud future was confirmed in recent days when Coolmore Stud – under-bidder at the yearling sale – secured an interest to race him along with Harron’s colts syndicate.

“King’s Legacy is an extremely special colt,’’ Harron said. “Coolmore loved this colt and Tom Magnier was under-bidder at the Magic Millions. It is incredible how it has worked out with Coolmore buying into this colt between his two Group 1 wins.

“This campaign was all about the Sires’ and the Champagne and it is great when a plan like this comes off.’’ Magnier said Coolmore was “always trying to find these colts and we have landed on one here. He ticks every box and there is a lot more to come.’’

The Race: A Cause for Celebration 

It’s older than the Preakness or Kentucky Derby or Belmont Stakes. It’s the 159-year-old Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes at Royal Randwick. 

The inaugural running of the race was on the second day of the Australian Jockey Club (AJC) Autumn Meet in 1861 as the fourth race on the six race card. The winner was Exeter trained by the famous trainer of the time Etienne de Mestre. The race became the premier AJC sprint race for two-year-olds for nearly 80 years. 

With the introduction of the richer Golden Slipper Stakes in 1957, the AJC decided on extending the distance of the race to one mile in 1972 and as such creating a natural progression for elite two year old races that is now known as the Juvenile Triple Crown – Golden Slipper Stakes, Sires Produce Stakes (ATC) and Champagne Stakes.

Six 2-year-olds have won the Juvenile Triple Crown: Baguette (1970), Luskin Star (1977), Tierce (1991), Burst (1992), Dance Hero (2004), Pierro (2012)

The record time for the race when the distance was six furlongs was held by Vain in 1969 when he won by 10 lengths in a time of 1:09.40. At the time Vain became the richest money earning 2-year-old in Australia.

The record time for the current 1600 metres distance is 1:34.47 set by Seabrook in 2018.

The Champagne has been run at many different distances:

1861 – 5 furlongs (~1000m)

1862–1864 – 1 mile (~1600m)

1865–1866 – 7 furlongs (~1400m)

1867–1880 – 5 furlongs (~1000m)

1881 – 6 furlongs (~1200m)

1882 – 5 furlongs (~1000m)

1883–1971 – 6 furlongs (~1200m)

1972 – 1 mile (~1600m)

1973 onwards – 1600 metres

The Trainers: The King and the Prince 

Peter and Paul Snowden are often referred to as the ‘King and Prince’ of two-year-olds as has been their success with the youngsters. The family training partnership saddled a trio of juveniles in last Saturday’s feature including the victor King’s Legacy. 

Since setting up at Randwick along with his son and co-trainer Paul, the Snowdens have excelled and are now widely regarded in the top echelon of stables in Australia with some of the most valuable horseflesh passing through their care in recent years.

On the back of the deeds of colts such as Golden Slipper winner Capitalist, dual Group One winner Russian Revolution, Pride Of Dubai, Invader and Shooting To Win, the Snowdens’ meticulous approach and eye for detail continues to be the cornerstone of their success.

Noted as premier trainers of two- and three-year-olds, a reputation earned by Peter while at Godolphin/Darley with colts such as Sepoy, Denman and Helmet, the father and son team have also demonstrated master management of older horses such as star sprinter Redzel, a back-to-back winner of The Everest and Australia’s highest-earning sprinter.

Peter, who was born and raised in the thoroughbred breeding heartland of Scone in the Hunter Valley, started out as a jockey before turning to training. He then took up an opportunity to work under John Hawkes as an assistant trainer for the Ingham brothers, a time when champions including Octagonal and his son Lonhro passed through the stable.

After Hawkes resigned in 2007, Snowden assumed the role as head trainer where he would go on to train 29 Group One winners, firstly for Woodlands Stud before the large-scale operation was sold to Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum in 2008.

Remarkably, in 2011, Snowden won the five premier two-year-old races in Australia, the Blue Diamond and Golden Slipper (Sepoy), the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes and ATC Champagne Stakes (Helmet) and Benfica who won the T J Smith Stakes (now the J J Atkins Plate) in Brisbane.

Paul Snowden also worked under Hawkes, starting off as a trackwork rider and stablehand at Crown Lodge in Sydney in 1990 before working his way up the ranks to become a foreman for the Hall Of Fame trainer.

When his father took over the Darley/Godolphin operation Paul was appointed as an assistant trainer in Melbourne based at Flemington. Motivated and an accomplished horseman and trainer in his own right, it was Paul who spurred on his father to join forces and establish their own public stable.

Past The Wire Staff 

Photo: Outstanding 2-year-old colt King’s Legacy ridden by Hugh Bowman wins the Group 1 Champagne Stakes at Randwick. Credit: Magic Millions

Photos: Peter & Paul Snowden celebrate their Golden Slipper win of SEPOY. Credit: Dynamic Partnership

@jonathanstettin eaaaaaaaaaazy winner.

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