Peter Snowden’s faith in Champollion paid off on Saturday when the son of Exceed And Excel pushed through the slow conditions to win the $125,000 Group 3 The Schweppervescence (1400m) on Golden Slipper Day at Rosehill.
Champollion stretches his neck out, picture Sportpix.com.au
Snowden clearly recognised the colt’s potential early on as Champollion debuted in the listed Breeders Plate last preparation. He returned with a solid third at Warwick Farm before Snowden shipped him down to Melbourne for a crack at the Sires Produce.
That move didn’t pay off but Snowden kept faith and despite not handling the conditions on Saturday his class shown through when he scored a comfortable win, putting on track for the final two legs of the Sydney juvenile Triple Crown, the Sires Produce and Champagne Stakes.
Ridden by Christian Reith, Champollion settled toward the rear of the field, about eight lengths off stablemate and race leader Aspen (McEvoy).
Little changed in the run until round the turn when plenty runners scouted wide in search for firmer going. This helped thin the field out and give Champollion enough room to get through.
With 150m to got Champollion got a split outside his stablemate and with momentum behind him he drew clear of the final 50m to score.
The official margin was a short neck to Ideal Guide (Shinn) with a neck to Rightoncue (T Berry) in third. The overall time was 1.26.26 with the last 600m run in 36.72.
“He is a nice horse,” Snowden said. “A horse who has always shown ability, that is why we took him down to Melbourne because I thought he was a genuine chance in the Sires but everything went wrong.
“Today, I wouldn’t say he was wrapped with the going but travelled sweetly and gave a good kick at the 200m mark and he showed today what he has been showing us at home for quite a while.
“It’s a good race too, this race, it has thrown up some pretty handy horses and some can usually bounce from this and go on to win some better races.
“The mare he is out of, Hierogram, she was a 2000m+ horse, but this colt was precocious early, has always shown some ability, the Exceed And Excel has probably kicked in a bit to help him there; he is a nice horse and I think anything up to a mile will be perfect for him.”
“It’s fantastic. A great start,” said Darley Australia’s Managing Director, Henry Plumptre. “Peter has always had a lot of faith in that colt, took him to Melbourne, was a bit disappointing but it is nice to see him come back to Sydney and win a nice race.”
“We wanted to ride him a little bit closer today but I was under pressure early and he wasn’t really handling the track,” Reith said.
“I elected to come back a couple of positions, get him right up on the bridle, hoping that would build his confidence.
“He was bolting on the corner, then I let him work up through them, when he got through he was dipping and diving; he will be much better on top of the ground.
“He is an exciting horse but on top of the ground he is a much better one.”
Champollion is out of the Octagonal (NZ) mare Hierogram and is owned by Sheikh Mohammed.
Photofinish, by ATC