Snowden happy with dynamic duo

Australian trainer Peter Snowden, on his first overseas mission for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minster of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is confident Sepoy and Helmet will do his famous Burgundy and White colours proud in their respective races at the Dubai World Cup meeting at Meydan this Saturday.

“I couldn’t be happier with the way they have settled in since their arrival from Australia,” said Snowden, who arrived himself on Monday, said after trackwork Monday morning.

Sepoy, the highest-rated three-year-old sprinter in the world after his brilliant two-year-old season, will take on the older sprinters in the US$2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen, sponsored by Gulf News over 1,200 metres while Helmet a three-time group one winner, including the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1,600m) in Melbourne last spring will contest the Group 2 $US2 million UAE Derby, sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group over 1,900 metres on the all-weather surface.

According to Snowden both Sepoy and Helmet have spent “as much time as possible’’ on the artificial all-weather surface at Meydan since their arrival in Dubai.

“It’s what they’re going to be racing on so they’ve got to get used to it,’’ Snowden said. “So far, everything has gone according to plan and they will be having their final piece of fast work Tuesday morning,” he said.

Snowden said Helmet had been unfairly maligned for his two defeats during the Melbourne autumn Carnival.

“He is usually as quiet as a mouse but he ‘blew’ the start in the Australian Guineas at his last start and first-up he got cluttered up on the inside which made it very difficult for a horse that likes to free-roll.”

Stable jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who was a victim of circumstances on both occasions, arrived in Dubai Monday morning. He will ride Sepoy and Helmet in their separate gallops Tuesday.

Snowden, long time foreman for trainer John Hawkes in Sydney, took over the role as the trainer when His Highness Sheik Mohammed began his Darley Stud operation in Australia about six years ago.

“This is the first time I’ve travelled horses overseas in my own name and it’s a great honour to have runners for His Highness Sheik Mohammed at the world’s richest racemeeting,” he said.

Sepoy and Helmet will join the Sheikh’s Dubai stables after Saturday and contest races at the Royal Ascot meeting in June.

“It’s certainly a lot different to what we’re used to back home but we can’t fault the training conditions at Meydan,” Snowden said.

McEvoy has ridden extensively for the Godolphin stable in Dubai and Europe as second jockey to Frankie Dettori and was an obvious choice as stable rider when the Sheik opened his Australian operation.

He became the second youngest jockey to win the Melbourne Cup as a 20-year-old on the Mike Moroney-trained Brew in 2000 and he came under notice of the Godolphin stable after his third on Beekeeper in the sane race in 2003.