The margin was narrower than most expected by classy filly Snitzerland (Snitzel) enhanced her terrific Victorian record with her gutsy performance in the $220,000 Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington.
Snitzerland had to work hard to post her third win from four starts in Victoria in the Danehill Stakes, which developed into the classic filly versus colt match race in the second half of the event.
Champion jockey Damien Oliver took over from Corey Brown aboard Snitzerland. Oliver was careful to ensure Snitzerland had sufficient cover into the stiff headwind for the first 600 metres of the race before the filly’s cosy run presented Oliver with a problem at the 400 metres.
Oliver was unable to find a gap between the leaders for Snitzerland while Steven King sent Stralia to the lead at the famous Flemington clock tower. Oliver switched Snitzerland back to the inside rail before the daughter of Snitzel rallied over the final furlong to get the better of Stralia late in the race.
“She’s won. We went out there with the idea that if we could get cover, we’d ride her with cover because of the wind,” Snitzerland’s trainer Gerald Ryan said.
“Corey has always maintained that she is a better chaser and Damien picked that up through her tapes. I was happy, the result was there. She’s won.
“They went steady early and then ran quick sectionals going home. She had to go right back to the inside but, once she found the fence, I was always confident she was going to pick it (Stralia) up.”
Snitzerland defeated Stralia (Stratum) by a long neck while Rusambo (Elusive Quality) finished 3-1/4 lengths further back in third. The field ran the 1200-metre distance in 1:10.54 on a good (3) track, recording a 34.25-second last 600-metre sectional. Snitzerland started at $1.45 on track but paid $1.40 on the Victorian TAB.
Ryan was thrilled Snitzerland had prevailed again against the colts in the Danehill Stakes after leading all the way to beat a field of smart Sydney three-year-olds in the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes at her three-year-old debut at Rosehill on August 18.
However, the astute trainer said Snitzerland would return to racing against her own sex in the Group 3 Champagne Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley later this month.
“She’ll go back to fillies’ grade now,” Ryan said. “She beat the colts today and she’ll go back to fillies’ grade at set weights in three weeks and hopefully we get the same result.
“After the Champagne (Stakes), we’ll have a look and see if we run in the Blue Sapphire or not. The Coolmore has always been her aim and whether we think she needs another run and she’s coping, we’ll go to the Blue Sapphire. If not, she’ll freshen up and go to the Coolmore.”
The win was Snitzerland’s fourth from seven starts. The $132,000 first prizemoney took her Stakes tally past the $1 million mark. Snitzerland fetched $125,000 at the 2011 Inglis Premier Yearling Sale.