Tinsnip follows dam to stakes success

6 min read
Tinsnip's victory in last Friday's G3 WA Sires' Produce was a special one for trainer Adam Durrant for multiple reasons.

Adam Durrant's breakthrough win with Tinsnip (Snippetson) in last Friday's G3 WA Sires' Produce S. was 20 years in the making for owner and breeder David Elsegood and the trainer is confident that it won’t be the last success they share with the promising Snippetson gelding.

While Tinsnip's narrow victory represented Durrant's maiden feature 2-year-old success, it was made all the more satisfying by the fact it was on behalf of one of his most loyal supporters.

Elsegood, a prominent WA businessman, raced horses with Durrant's parents over 20 years ago and has maintained horses with the Karnup-based trainer ever since he started out. Prior to now, the best horse the Elsegoods have had with Durrant has been Tinsnip's dam, Mabel Grace (Kendel Star).

Trainer Adam Durrant (centre) with Tinsnip's winning connections

"He was involved in a syndicate that mum and Dad trained for and he's been involved since then, maybe 15-20 years ago. He's remained part of the team, which has been good," Durrant told TDN AusNZ.

"Mabel Grace won a few stakes races, but this would be (Elsegood's) best win with us. Every horse that he has had so far, that I can remember, has been a winner. He's had another horse called Western Force, who was a very good honest horse and won half a dozen races."

"Every horse that he has had so far, that I can remember, has been a winner." - Trainer Adam Durrant

"They only do it for fun and when they got that Mabel Grace they decided to have a roll-of-the-dice in breeding and it’s something that has proven very satisfying when you see the mare that you have raced with such success produce you a stakes winner."

A 2YO breakthrough

Durrant has developed his reputation as one of WA's leading trainers off the back of older horses, including a win in the 2012 G1 Railway S. with Mr Moet (Mosayter {USA}), as well as G2 Perth Cup successes with the Bob Peters owned mares Real Love (Desert King {Ire}) and Star Exhibit (Statue of Liberty {USA}).

But it wasn't until a couple of years ago that he saw an opportunity to race more 2-year-old horses, albeit with a targeted philosophy.

"As part of the direction we are heading we wanted to get more syndicates involved," he said. "It’s something we have concentrated in the past couple of seasons."

"We try and target the right horses at those races, and I think that's the way to go." - Adam Durrant

"We won eight 2-year-old races last year and have now won a feature. We try and target the right horses at those races, and I think that's the way to go. We’d had pretty good success without winning a feature yet. For him to do that, it's a good result."

Adam Durrant won the G2 Perth Cup with the Bob Peters owned, Star Exhibit

"To have a feature 2-year-old winner when we are more renowned for our 3-year-olds and up horses, it obviously adds a new string to our bow."

But while he is more focussed on 2-year-olds than before, the success of Tinsnip won't lead Durrant further down a path of focussing on younger horses.

"I'm not going to throw too many eggs in the 2-year-old basket. It’s not my style, I don’t like pushing the 2-year-olds too hard. There's only a very small number of horses that fit into that category. You see that quite early and we've hit the target the past couple of years," he said.

"I'm not going to throw too many eggs in the 2-year-old basket." - Adam Durrant

"We are obviously in a rural training centre and we aren't based at a track. It’s a good result, but it's not something we will base our whole system around it. It just shows our system can achieve that if needed."

"On the whole, you'll destroy more nice horses than make them out of pushing them too hard and our system will never change."

Tough as Tinsnip

Tinsnip emerged as a horse that by Durrant's own admission, was more tough than brilliant and he debuted with a close-up second at Ascot back in October.

He was third in his subsequent start two weeks later before being given a let-up with the Perth autumn features in mind.

He was fourth on his racetrack return last month but despite that consistency went into the G2 Karrakatta Plate as a $61 outsider. Showing all those tough characteristics, he charged late to be just beaten by Dig Deep (Deep Field), who is trained by Durrant's good mates Ben and Daniel Pearce.

Last Friday, he made amends for that defeat in one of Perth's other two Group races for 2-year-olds. Stepping up to 1400m for the first time, he won by the smallest possible margin, holding off Specialism (Safeguard) and giving Scenic Lodge's Snippetson his 12th stakes winner.

Intergenerational success

The thrill of training a second generation stakes-winner exceeded that of a breakthrough juvenile win for the trainer.

"One of the things that was really satisfying is that I trained the mum as well. She was a half a million dollar earner and to produce a stakes winner, it’s a good feeling when the mum was so good to us," Durrant said.

"She got better and raced on until she was six or seven and was great earner. I would think this guy isn’t a lot different. He will get ground. I'm very, very confident of that."

"One of the things that was really satisfying is that I trained the mum as well." - Adam Durrant

"He's heading toward the Guineas in November, but it wouldn't shock me to see him this time next year in our Derby over here. He is that type of horse and he gives us that type of feel."

Backing up that feeling is that fact that Tinsnip's older half sister by Blackfriars, Mackenzie Brooke, was recently third in the G3 WA Oaks.

Durrant sees plenty of similarities between Tinsnip and Mabel Grace, who retired with 10 wins from 41 starts, including five at black-type level.

"They are different looking horses. One's a chestnut, one's a bay, but as far as the constitution and the attitude goes, I can see a lot of the mother in him," Durrant said.

Mabel Grace

"He's got that tough streak about him. Without being disrespectful to him he is probably tougher than he is brilliant. She was the same, she won more of her races on toughness."

"Her last start she had 62kg and won a stakes race at Ascot over the carnival and that was her forte, how hard and tough she was. She would just lift and race well every preparation."

"He's the same, he acts like a 4-year old when he's a 2-year old. Hopefully he can go on and reach her prizemoney levels."

Mabel Grace has a yearling full sister to Tinsnip and produced a Rogano filly last spring before visiting Universal Ruler.