Peter Snowden has put a bridle on his share of top horses, but he can’t ever recall having a better wet track galloper than Mazu.
While several trainers are keeping an anxious eye on the weather ahead of Saturday’s All Aged Stakes (1400m), Snowden is content in the knowledge Mazu will relish any category of rain-affected surface.
“He’s probably the best wet tracker I’ve ever had,” Snowden said.
“He is so comfortable in the ground, it’s incredible how well he handles it. The wetter the better, it makes no difference to him at all.”
Not only should Mazu get track conditions to suit, the four-year-old is also improving in fitness.
After resuming with a solid fifth to In Secret in the Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington, he was a brave third behind I Wish I Win and Giga Kick in the TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) when he was overhauled late by the backmarkers.
“He got past Nature Strip and I think he thought the job was done but there were two more flying down the outside. I had to be pleased with his run,” Snowden said.
“I always make our main race third or fourth run of the prep. Even though he’s a very good trackworker and he runs well, he really does come to hand third and fourth-up, and last year fifth-up he won a (Doomben) 10,000.
“Because he races a very tough way, it takes a little bit of racing to get him rock-hard fit and he’s not far off the mark now.”
The one query for Mazu is the 1400m journey.
His only start beyond 1200m was in last year’s Winner’s Stakes (1300m) when he finished second to Saturday’s All Aged Stakes rival Private Eye.
Snowden says the only way to find out Mazu’s distance limits is to test them, but his gut feel is the horse will handle it.
“You don’t know until you run them, but I’ve always thought he’s got a really good action, it’s very economical,” Snowden said.
“And you can hold him up now, he’s not a one-trick pony who just jumps and runs. You can rate him and I think that gives him a good chance to run out a good seven (furlongs).”
Snowden will get through this weekend before deciding if Mazu heads to Brisbane to defend his Doomben 10,000 title ahead of another shot at The Everest in the spring.
Photo: Ashlea Brennan Photography