Snow Patrol claims Group 2 Autumn Stakes

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Mark Zahra and the & Jnr team have combined with Snow Patrol (+800) to grind away to victory in the Group 2 (1400m) at on Saturday afternoon.

It was a perfectly timed steer by Zahra who elected to stalk the favoured runner Southport Tycoon (+110) every step of the way, taking a mid-field sit throughout the 1400m journey.

There was a strong tempo mid-race setup by the team Hayes-trained (+550), as the third market elect strode to the front under , attempting to make every post a winner.

As the leader was fading turning into the home straight, the eventual quinella pair cleared out on their respective rivals as Snow Patrol and Southport Tycoon sat down to out the finish, with the former just able to get the upper hand in the shadows of the post.

Hey Fat Cat (+500) was the clear firmer in the market but bombed the start significantly, putting an end to his winning chances despite flashing home into a fourth-place finish, while Western Australian invader Zipaway (+650) managed to hold third.

It was all about the winner though, as Snow Patrol puts his hand up for Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) contention next month.

Co-trainer Michael Kent Jnr was on course to discuss the win of his improving three-year-old and gave a glowing assessment of the gelding heading towards the Guineas.

“I suppose the last hundred (metres), the second horse really kicked back and made it tough for him and he just fought it out,” said Kent Jnr.

“He's got three weeks now to the Guineas, that's ideal.

“Being by that stallion (), we hope he'll get 2000 metres, why wouldn't he, a big strong, clean winded, sound horse, the race worked out beautifully, the pace was on, how good's Mark Zahra? He can go enjoy the NFL on Monday,” joked Kent Jnr.

Mark Zahra spoke to his tactics post-race as well, allowing his mount to tuck in behind the preferred Southport Tycoon.

“I loved his trial,” said Zahra.

“My plan was just to follow Southport Tycoon everywhere he went, and I did, Frosty () was travelling really strong and I thought if I waited for him to kick, I wouldn't have been able to pick him up so, Mick Price & always have their horses fit, even first up, so I opted to rush him a bit at the top of the straight.

“It became a two-horse war and there was nothing in it, it was a great battle and I got the head over the line at the right time but I think he'll improve a lot from that too.”

Snow Patrol is now an +700 chance with online bookmakers in the Group 1 Australian Guineas on March 2.

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