Sport

Peter Snowden's Defcon defies bad start to win Blake Shinn's first Black Opal Stakes

It wasn't the plan, but it worked. And while trainer Peter Snowden was keeping a lid on Defcon's brilliant last-to-first Black Opal Stakes win, jockey Blake Shinn had no doubts of his charge's Golden Slipper credentials.

Defcon showed why he was the odds-on favourite, overcoming a poor start to salute by a length from Bede Murray's Flash Fibian, with James Cummings' Prized Icon third at Canberra's Thoroughbred Park on Sunday.

Jockey Blake Shinn and trainer Peter Snowden celebrate Defcon's win in the Black Opal Stakes.
Jockey Blake Shinn and trainer Peter Snowden celebrate Defcon's win in the Black Opal Stakes. Photo: Melissa Adams

It was Shinn's first Black Opal (1200 metres) and Snowden's second, with the veteran Sydney trainer claiming his first one with Epaulette four years ago.

Missing the start didn't make the win any sweeter for Shinn – he just wants to win "as easy as I can get it".

He tacked the son of Choisir onto the tail of the field as Canberra hope Motime took up the early running.

The pace dragged Defcon along and seemed to slingshot the $1.90 favourite into the home straight as he rounded the field and bolted clear down the middle of the track.

It meant the two-year-old colt became the first odds-on Black Opal winner since Pembleton saluted 16 years ago.

Snowden wasn't worried about taking such a firm favourite into the $275,000 group 3 race, although he would've liked it to have been a bit easier.

"That [missing the start] wasn't in the plan, let me tell you, it's just one of those things that happen and Blake adjusted to the situation and got a great result," he said.

With the emphatic nature of the win, it would have been easy for Snowden, who trains Defcon in partnership with son Paul, to have immediately talked of taking on the $3.5 million Golden Slipper (1200m) – the world's richest two-year-old race.

"I'll just have to think about what we do. We'll just soak up today first and enjoy the moment," Snowden said.

"I'm just mindful of him still being a soft horse. I think he's going to be a pretty handy horse actually, I'm just weary about going to the well once too often and having a tired horse when he goes out, I don't want that.

"We'll make a call in the next few days."

Shinn had no doubts Defcon was worthy of a crack at the Slipper.

The colt had produced two good runs to finish second in both the group 2 Silver Slipper (1100m) and the group 3 Canonbury Stakes (1100m).

"It was a wonderful win. He bobbed his head at the start, we were on the back foot, I just had to play it very cool, reassess, obviously wanted to go forward," he said.

"I know he's got an amazing turn of foot and I rode him for that and thankfully they went hard enough and it worked out.

"Traditionally this is a good lead-up towards the Golden Slipper, we've seen Epaulette  and some really nice horses come out of this race and run well in a Slipper, it's got form lines around some good horses.

"There's no reason to suggest he couldn't go there and run well. He's shown he can run a strong 1200m today. He's certainly worthy of a place in the Golden Slipper."