Canterbury preview: Craig Williams makes a quick Sydney visit for Queen Of Dragons
Star Victorian hooper Craig Williams will make an important hit-and-run mission to Canterbury on Wednesday in a bid to help talented filly Queen Of Dragons earn a shot at the $2 million Inglis Millennium.
Williams will travel from Melbourne for one ride where he will be partnered by Peter and Paul Snowden’s colt in the Drinkwise 2YO Maiden Plate (1200m).
Sydney rider Tommy Berry was originally booked to pilot Queen Of Dragons, but last Friday he stood himself down while he awaits his appeal of a one-year ban.
The form: Complete NSW Racing Thoroughbred form, including video replays and everything you need to know about every horse, jockey and trainer. Find a winner here!
Williams got the late call after previously working with connections, Trilogy Racing.
“It left us in a bit of limbo that a rider would go so close to race day and after talking to Craig and his management he was able to take the opportunity,” said Paul Snowden.
“The Inglis Millennium will be the first port of call with this colt, but she has to win first.
“If she wins, she’ll probably go to that race, but if she doesn’t, we’ll wait and see.”
Queen Of Dragons is by Pierro out of Entrancing, making her a sister to the Snowdens’ Group 2 Percy Sykes Stakes winning filly Paris Dior.
Paris Dior also finished runner-up to Xtravagant Star in last year’s Inglis Millennium in just her second race start.
A win on Wednesday will see Queen Of Dragons take her place in the lucrative Millennium field at Randwick on February 11.
The promising filly finished fourth on debut behind Red Resistance in a two-year-old handicap at Rosehill on January 14 and should reap the benefits of that raceday experience.
“She was a little timid around other runners,” Snowden said.
“Put in race day conditions, she just got caught in vulnerable spots at certain stages which cost her.
“She was still strong on the line but raced a bit new.
“When she got going in the last bit, the race was all over, but it turned out not to be a bad race.”
The form around Queen Of Dragons was challenged with race winner Red Resistance claiming last Saturday’s Group 3 Canonbury Stakes, while runner-up Steel City was second in the Group 3 Widden Stakes.
Queen Of Dragons is a $3.90 second selection with TAB for Wednesday’s affair with only The Little Pumper ($2.10 fav) ahead of him in betting.
The Snowdens look a great chance to pull off a winning double on the afternoon with Game Theory in the TAB Benchmark 72 Handicap (1250m).
The So You Think gelding has finished runner-up in three of his five runs this preparation and was last seen a close second to Per Inaway in the Malcolm Cusick Stakes (1200m) at Gosford on December 28.
“He had a little refresh,” Snowden said.
“It was just luck to run well with him.
“If he jumps and gets a friendly lead, he’s got a good finish on him if you hold him to finish like that.
“With a small pitch he is a fast runner and if he happens to dictate that will be good
“James McDonald will hopefully give him every chance.”
Game Theory was $3 in $2.80 favorite to shade Dynamic Impact ($3.90) and Tawfiq Lass ($4.20).
QUINTON’S CRUSADE LOOKS A REAL BEAUTY
Trainer Ron Quinton believes improved galloper Beauty Crusade has laid the foundation to be right in the mix for a breakthrough in Wednesday’s Furphy Maiden Handicap (1580m) at Canterbury.
The son of Invader, a former $375,000 yearling purchase, has only had two starts to date but has improved from one run to the next and will look to take another step forward at his first look at the mile .
Beauty Crusade finished fourth on debut over 1350m at Wyong before running a fine third over 1400m at Randwick last start on Boxing Day.
“His form was pretty good,” Quinton said.
“He is only a light racehorse, but his runs were very sound. His run was good at Randwick in the 1400m so it doesn’t look like a bad race for him so I would expect him to run well.
“Hopefully he can get the money.”
Beauty Crusade rose from $3.50 to $3.80 in TAB betting but maintained outright favoritism for his third-up assignment.
Quinton will rely on the assistance of former star pupil Andrew Adkins to help Beauty Crusade and fellow light-hearted three-year-old Drialle break their virginity.
When joining forces, the trainer-jockey combined for 41 winners, which is Adkins’ most wins for any stable and includes his first Group 1 winner on Daysee Doom in the 2018 Coolmore Classic.
Adkins will have a bigger challenge aboard Drialle, who pulled a touch uncomfortably in barrier nine for the Schweppes 3YO Maiden Handicap (1250m).
The Shalaa colt is the $71 outsider of the field after he was last seen finishing three and a half lengths away in third behind Citzenship at this track and ride on January 20.
“He ran there a couple of weeks ago and ran credibly so he’ll go around again,” Quinton said.
“It might be a stronger race, but we’ll just have to see what happens there.”
Quinton also has Smart Little Miss in the Exceedance’s First Yearlings Benchmark 64 Handicap (1250m) but will weigh whether to run the last start winner 24 hours later at Gosford.
Smart Little Miss drew barrier one in Thursday’s Rock @ The Race 18th March Fillies and Mares Benchmark 64 Handicap.
Originally published as Canterbury preview: Team Snowden calls on Craig Williams to team up with Inglis Millennium Queen Of Dragons