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Biggest breeding rivalry plays out in Concorde

5 min read
Saturday's G2 Concorde S at Randwick is not only a battle between the two fastest horses in Australia, but also another chapter in the rivalry between Australia's leading sire Snitzel and his biggest challenger I Am Invincible.

Saturday's G2 Concorde S at Randwick is not only a battle between the two fastest horses in Australia, but also another chapter in the rivalry between Australia's leading sire Snitzel and his biggest challenger I Am Invincible.

Redzel was the flagbearer for Snitzel last season, helping his sire to secure back-to-back titles as Australia's champion stallion, including a $5.8 million boost by winning Australia's richest race, The Everest.

While the battle between Snitzel and I am Invincible in terms of winners (173 to 158) and stakeswinners (26-19) was competitive in the 2017/18 season, Snitzel landed a knockout blow when it came to prizemoney earned.

Thanks largely to the work of Redzel, current favourite for this year's The Everest, Trapeze Artist and Golden Slipper winner Estijaab, Snitzel's progeny won nearly twice as much in prizemoney.

Snitzel's Champion Stallion title was helped by Estijaab's win in the $3.5 million dollar Golden Slipper

While it was the best-ever season for progeny of I am Invincible, with Viddora and Hellbent his two Group 1 winners.

Star power

There are plenty who believe that Invincible Star can be a marquee horse this spring, starting with Saturday's G3 Concorde S.

She may not have been seen at the races since running a close second in the Coolmore Stud S. last spring, but her enormous 10-length trial win at Randwick a couple of weeks back was enough to convince Greg Ingham of GPI Racing to lock her in for his slot in The Everest.

"She's looked explosive in her trials," co-trainer Adrian Bott told RSN ahead of her return.

"She's certainly shown that improvement that we thought she's taken. She's strengthened up physically and she's done very well. I really like what we are seeing from her."

"She's got that real x-factor about her." - Adrian Bott on Invincible Star

"It's just exciting to see her back at the races. She's got that real x-factor about her."

Invincible Star has had bone chips removed from her knees since her last appearance 10 months ago, but Bott feels that the time she has been given to recover has allowed her to develop to her potential.

"She's fully mature and she's had the time to get over all that. I think she's really at the top of her game at the moment."

The battle with Redzel is an intriguing one, given both horses are being targeted at the world's richest race on turf in six weeks' time. Neither is expected to be fully wound up, but both also love to race on the pace.

"I've got so much respect for (Redzel)," Bott said. "He's obviously the best sprinter in Australia and the real benchmark. We get favourable conditions and I'd like to think we can give him a real good test."

The champ

Redzel's vice-like grip on the title as Australia's best sprinter was loosened somewhat when he was beaten three times in four starts in his last campaign.

But concerns that Redzel's best days are behind him are not something that co-trainer Paul Snowden entertains.

"He's had a good break and it was what the horse wanted. It’s hard to get a nice good break into these sprinters," Snowden said.

"To see how he's prepped up for this, it gets me really excited. Every aspect of his training is just like when he kicked off an Everest campaign 12 months ago."

Redzel certainly switched on when the blinkers were applied at his most recent trial at Rosehill, powering clear in an impressive display of speed.

"Every aspect of his training is just like when he kicked off an Everest campaign 12 months ago." - Paul Snowden on Redzel

But he’ll likely have to camp off Invincible Star in the run on Saturday, adding another layer to the contest.

Path to The Everest

Of course, the performance is much more important than the result for both sets of connections as well as their respective slotholders for The Everest.

And Yu Long Investments (Redzel) and GPI Racing (Invincible Star) are not the only slot holders in for a nervous day.

Three of the other runners in The Everest runners also go around at Caulfield, with Santa Ana Lane (Lope De Vega {Ire}) and Brave Smash (Jpn) (Tosen Phantom {Jpn}) competing in The G3 Heath 1100 and Vega Magic, (Lope De Vega {Ire}) favourite to win the G1 Memsie S.

Santa Ana Lane, who will race for Inglis' slot in the Everest, is not a noted first-up horse, neither is last year's The Everest third placegetter Brave Smash, who will represent Chris Waller Racing.

The expectations are much higher for Vega Magic, who was snapped up by slot holder James Harron Bloodstock after his first-up win in the G3 Bletchingly S. He is the clear market leader in the Memsie, a race he won last year before running an unlucky second behind Redzel in the inaugural running of The Everest.