The Randwick stable of Peter & Paul Snowden added yet another coveted success to their increasing number of feature race victories when Calanda (by Snitzel) scored a narrow win in the $160,000, Listed, NSW Grafton District Services Club Ramornie Handicap (1200m) on Day 1 of the Clarence River Jockey Club’s major two-day racing carnival of the year.
One of the most celebrated sprints on the NSW country racing calendar, the Ramornie seldom fails to prove a highly competitive contest and it was the Snowden trained 3-year-old that came out on top in a thrilling finish that saw The Monstar (by California Dane) in contention right up until the final stride.
If anything, the connections of The Monstar should consider themselves more than a tad unlucky not to have won. Ridden on the pace from a very early stage of the race, The Monster lugged badly when negotiating the home turn and appeared to lose at least a couple of lengths in the process.
One horse to take full advantage of an inside passage was the eventual winner Calanda, the progressive son of Snitzel slipping up close to the fence to hit the lead halfway down the straight before just managing to do enough to win in a photo-finish.
It was a welcome change of luck for Calanda following a Brisbane winter carnival campaign during which the relatively lightly-raced 3-year-old was himself plagued with misfortunate.
As winning co-trainer Paul Snowden explained after the victory: “He’s a talented horse and probably the races in Brisbane didn’t go right for him. He got strung up at a vital stage and was virtually going to the line well within himself.”
Calanda actually went into the Ramornie on the back of a clear-cut win at Rosehill Gardens on his return to Sydney from Brisbane and has now won five of his 11 career starts for prizemoney in excess of $365,000.
As Snowden further explained: “He backed-up with a really handy win the other day at Rosehill. Obviously, we poked through the inside of the track today — when everyone was trying to get off it — and he’s got the job done.
“Like I said, he ran into a lot of trouble against good opposition up in Brisbane and he’s beaten a handy field here today, which is very pleasing.”
Calanda defeated The Monstar by 0.1L, with the winner’s stable companion Flippant (by Hinchinbrook) coming home in third place some 1.1L behind the runner-up. Starting prices of the first three horses home were $3.80F, $5.50 and $6.00 respectively.
Calanda won the race in a slashing 1m07.56s (final 600m in 33.86s). He raced in the colours of the China Horse Club Racing Pty Ltd, co-owners along with Newgate S F, Horse Ventures, EM & JB Rea and Mr A D Mitchell.