Peter Snowden could not have asked for a better farewell to Darley after he trained a winning treble at his final meeting in charge at Hawkesbury on Saturday.
Snowden, who started as Darley’s head trainer in 2008, saddled up a trifecta in the first race followed by a quinella in the second.
The highlight was his fifth win in the Darley Crown. Aerobatics made it back-to-back wins in the event with an impressive run.
‘‘She was flying coming into it,’’ Snowden said. ‘‘In those couple of runs early she was a bit underdone and each run got her better for the next one and the plan came off today.
‘‘It’s a race we’ve targeted right from the get-go and everything fell into place. We aimed to have her peaking here, but she’s a difficult filly to ride.’’
The victory almost brought him to tears.
‘‘It certainly is [a good way to go out],’’ Snowden said. ‘‘That’s three wins. I thought I’d get one, so to get three is really good. It’s greedy, but I don’t mind being greedy.’’
The race was almost a replay of last year’s event. The Exceed And Excel mare relaxed during the running after an awkward start before outsprinting her rivals to score by a length. Plucky Belle was second.
‘‘You’ve got to get cover to have her switch off and in the first three furlongs she wasn’t getting that,’’ Snowden said. ‘‘She was over-racing badly, like she did the other day at Randwick, and I was hoping something came around us – which it did – and she switched off and had a breather.
‘‘Christian [Reith] knows she has a good 200-metre sprint and he saved her for that.’’
Reith, who rode Aerobatics to victory in last year’s race, said once his horse settled his job was easy.
‘‘She needs cover,’’ he said. ‘‘If she doesn’t get cover she over-races but she was able to get it and they rolled along at a good pace, so it was just a matter of keeping her balanced and letting her go.’’
Earlier in the day Snowden kicked off the meeting in the best possible fashion, scoring the trifecta in the first. But it was not the finish punters predicted as the most fancied Darley runner, Suit, finished third behind Imperil and the stable’s outsider, Generalife, which won by a short neck.
‘‘He jumped better today and was in the race and travelled well,’’ Snowden said of Generalife. ‘‘He probably had that little bit better run of the three of them. These are Saturday-class horses now and with the carnival on in Brisbane they should be able to pick up a few.’’
Jockey Josh Parr said that as Generalife started evenly he was always going to race better than his form suggested.
‘‘He’s been racing well but often misses the kick and it puts him a long way back, which puts him out of contention in a lot of races,’’ Parr said. ‘‘But today he got into a position nice and handy and was too strong for them.’’
Incoming Darley trainer John O’Shea would have licked his lips after watching Meursault dominating the Claret Stakes. Just 35 minutes after the trifecta in the first, the stable had a quinella in the second and O’Shea would have liked what he saw as the first-time runner beat stablemate Farolitos by three lengths.
‘‘They can both go to Brisbane, no doubt,’’ Snowden said, referring to that city’s winter racing carnival. ‘‘The way that horse won, he’s Brisbane-bound for sure.’’