Sheikh Mohammed: transferring his best runner yet according to trainerPICTURE: Masakazu Takahashi
Mental leaves for Dubai with Group 1 victory
Report: Australia, Saturday
Flemington: Patinack Farm Classic (Group 1) 6f, turf
MENTAL (Peter Snowden/Kerrin McEvoy) ended his time in Australia on a high by landing the Patinack Farm Classic.
The son of Lonhro will leave Snowden's stable this week to go into quarantine before being shipped off to Dubai for the northern hemisphere winter and then travel to Britain to join Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin team.
"It's a bit sad seeing them go, but it's part of my job," Snowden said.
Snowden said Mental ranked as the best horse he'd sent to the Sheikh, which is a measure of his opinion of the horse whose Patinack win was his seventh from 12 starts.
Previous exports from the Snowden stable include Sepoy and Helmet who failed to run up to their excellent Australian form, while comparative lesser lights like Soul and Retrieve have scored important victories.
"I've probably sent them 15 or 20 horses so far, but I think this is the best of them," Snowden said.
Mental responded stylishly to jockey Kerrin McEvoy's riding to score by three-quarters-of-a-length from the favourite Sea Siren with Hallowell Belle three lengths away third.
The win reversed the Manikato Stakes result from two weeks ago when Sea Siren scored at Moonee Valley, but it didn't surprise Snowden.
"He was good in Brisbane last season and he's been stepping up a level almost every run he's had," he said.
Sea Siren again provided the sternest opposition, staying close to Mental from the jump.
But when McEvoy applied the pressure 300m out, Jim Cassidy on Sea Siren had to ride hard to go with the winner.
Hallowell Belle got a long way out her ground early and did the best of a tired-looking bunch behind the first two.
Also on Saturday
Flemington: Emirates Stakes (Group 1)1m, turf
DAMIEN OLIVER, who is under investigation for allegedly betting on another horse in a race he was riding in, was in the headlines for the right reasons when steering Happy Trails (Paul Beshara) to a short-head win.
With the investigation threatening his career, Oliver has been under tremendous pressure this spring, having lost the ride on Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon, among others.
"I'm just grateful to get these rides," Oliver said.
For trainer Paul Beshara, the win was reward for his faith in both horse and jockey.
Happy Trails had been one of the form horses of the spring before an unfortunate run in the Cox Plate when he finished tenth behind Ocean Park.
"It wasn't fair in the Cox Plate," Beshara said. "More Joyous laid all over him the whole way and he never got any rhythm going.
"Damien was able to ride him properly today and you can see what he's capable of.
"I'm glad he could win for Damien. He's done a great job for me, always available to ride the horse in his work and help me out whenever I needed him."
Flemington: Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Group 3) 1m5f, turf
PUISSANCE DE LUNE (Darren Weir/Glen Boss) ran out the emphatic five-length winner of this contest as European contenders Lost In The Moment (fifth) and Shahwardi (seventh) were unable to make an impact.