Snowden targets first Grade 1 as Lambourn handler looks to build on ‘phenomenal’ last season
Lambourn's Jamie Snowden is targeting a maiden Grade 1 winner as he looks to build on last season's "phenomenal" jumps campaign.
Not only did Snowden smash his previous best prize money haul with a final total of £703,949, but he also saw his nine-year wait for a second Cheltenham Festival winner end following the victory of You Wear it Well in the Grade 2 Jack de Bromhead Mares’ Novices Hurdle.
There was also a fine victory for Ga Law in the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November before Datslrightgino rounded out the season with a Grade 2 success in the Future Champion Novices’ Chase at Ayr.
And with all those that made last season such a success for Snowden returning for more alongside some interesting new additions, including the royal-owned Reach For The Moon, everything looks in place for another exciting campaign.
“It was a phenomenal season right from start to finish from Pisgah Pike winning the Summer Hurdle at Market Rasen, to Ga Law winning the Paddy Power and You Wear It Well winning at the Cheltenham Festival," Snowden told The Jockey Club’s Graham Clark.
“We were slightly down on numbers of winners on the previous season, but the prize money almost doubled. Cheltenham Festival winners are hard to come by and our first one with Present View was nine years ago.
“Having had our first one you naively assume they would come a bit more regularly, so to get that nine years on from the first one was very satisfying.
“The Paddy Power Gold Cup win was also a big day as it is something we had planned for almost 18 months so for that to come off was incredible.
“It would be great to break through the million-pound barrier in prize money, but for a yard of our size it is probably a bit unrealistic to aim for as you need double the horses we have to achieve that.
“We haven’t had a Grade 1 winner yet, so I suppose that would be a more realistic target. We will try to keep on building on the foundations that we have built.”
You Wear It Well, who ended Snowden’s almost decade-long wait for a second Cheltenham Festival winner, was a slightly disappointing fifth in the Grade 1 Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree on her final run of the season.
Snowden admits he did have a look at the six-year-old over fences, but has opted to keep the daughter of prolific sire Midnight Legend hurdling for another year.
That allows You Wear It Well to go in search of a second successive Festival winner, with the Mares’ Hurdle the target this time around.
Snowden said: “Aintree was a race too many for her following her victory at the Cheltenham Festival. She is a phenomenally tough mare. She ran in her first race in October, and she had some hard races including when second in the Challow (a Grade 1 at Newbury).
“We did jump a fence with her in the spring to see if we were going to go chasing. She jumped well, but she is still only a young horse and we thought we would see how high she can go over hurdles before going chasing.
“She will probably start off in the Listed race at the Charlie Hall meeting at Wetherby and then the next races for her are at Sandown and Warwick before going back to the Festival for the Mares’ Hurdle.
“She is a big, powerful mare. She has really blossomed over the past couple of seasons.
“She is 140 now and she has to step forward outside of novice company, but there is no reason why she can’t. Stamina is definitely in her pedigree which will bode well this season.”
Ga Law, who delivered the Folly House team another of their standout moments when he won the Paddy Power Gold Cup at Cheltenham in November, is in line to take in Newbury’s Coral Gold Cup, while Snowden isn’t ruling out a tilt at the Grand National.
“Last season the Paddy Power Gold Cup was very much the plan. He was third in the Old Roan and came on for that. He went to the Paddy Power a well-handicapped horse,” he said.
“He only just won that day, but he won it through stamina more so than speed. He didn’t jump great that day.
“He picked up a bit of an injury after that so that put us on the back foot for the rest of the season. He ran a cracker in the Ryanair at the Cheltenham Festival over a trip too short then at Aintree he was just a bit over the top.
“We are going to go for the West Yorkshire Hurdle first and then go on to the Coral Gold Cup.
"If we stay over fences I think we have to look at the Grand National as a long-term aim. He is very much a stayer.
“He improved all the way through last year until Aintree. He is only a young horse and hopefully there is more to come from him.”
Snowden feels Datsalrightgino, who was pulled up after going off favourite in the Magners Plate Cheltenham Handicap at The Cheltenham Festival in March, could be next in line to take on the Paddy Power Gold Cup.
He said: “He ran eight times last season. He was a good novice hurdler and won around
Cheltenham as a novice hurdler. He has appeared to want the nicer ground as opposed to the deep winter ground.
“He is one that we could look at the Paddy Power Gold Cup with and he will have an entry in that and the Coral Gold Cup.”
Colonel Harry, who won twice in his first season and was second in a Grade 2 over in Ireland, is set to go novice chasing.
“He is going to go novice chasing this season and he won a point-to-point before we got him,” Snowden said.
“I think two miles on soft ground is his real optimum. He is a keen going, strong travelling type. He jumps fences well.
“Hopefully we have got a bit of scope of our handicap mark before thinking about stepping up into graded race company.”