Jan 19, 2017
We learn a little more about co-trainer Paul Snowden on his love of horses, family, career, and how he sees the Australian thoroughbred industry developing.
Where did it all start for you Paul? As a kid I used to follow dad around the stables like a homeless dog; observing, learning and helping out. My first sense of responsibility came with four lead ponies which I looked after morning and afternoon when I was a young teenager at school. I used to get paid $50 a week which was good money back then! I then started working weekends and strapping on Saturday’s and built up from there to trackriding, foreman and assistant trainer over many years. I’ve been lucky to learn from the best and to now train alongside dad is a real privilege.
Best moment so far under P&P Snowden? “Shooter” [Shooting To Win] winning the Caulfield Guineas. He was our first Group 1 winner and I talked him up beforehand. There’s no better feeling than having your belief justified with a win.
Winning the Golden Slipper and Magic Millions with Capitalist was satisfying because he overcame a few setbacks including missing a trial and having an unflattering run before the Slipper – they might seem minor, but they’re enough to usually derail a preparation, so due credit to the horse.
Speaking of Capitalist, and the fact he’s now off Newgate Farm Stud, is there another above average 2YO in the making? Our Breeders Plate winner Khan has a lot of raw ability and carries the same colours at Capitalist. We hold high hopes for him but there’s a long way to go yet. Two-year-old racing is intriguing, and largely unknown - anything can happen at any time!
Race you’d most like to win? A Cox Plate or Melbourne Cup. We’re mainly focussed on younger horses over shorter distances but we’re still a young stable and building towards those bigger grand slam races for older horses. In time I think we’ll prove that we can be competitive in those major races. So much luck and patience is involved.
Best racehorse you’ve seen? Black Caviar
How does your management style differ to Peter’s? I’m of a different generation and a bit more relaxed. Dad was training 40 years ago running his own business, so knows exactly how he wants things to run. A dollar is a dollar! There are some old school principles which don’t change when it comes to training horses but I’ll bring new ideas, and perspective to the table and they’ll be heard.
Okay, what’s it really like working with the old man? Ha! It has its challenges sometimes like any family business, but I respect what dad says and we work really well together. He’s a respected horseman and I’ve been lucky to be taught by him over a long period of time. Dad has spent hundreds of hours looking at horse’s legs and feet, and pouring over the smallest of details but this has put him, and me indirectly, in good stead. There’s always something to learn and no room for complacency around the stable.
Best horses you’ve ridden in trackwork? Back in the Crown Lodge days, Octagonal, Lonhro, Freemason, Strategic, Viscount, and Arena were some of the horses I used to ride. Out of the 15 or so that I’d ride in a morning, 7 or 8 would be Group 1 winners which was amazing.
What three changes would you make to the Australian racing industry? Being a strapper or trackwork rider is a lifestyle choice people are becoming more sensitive to, so I think it would help if early morning track work started later.
Racing bodies should work closer together so we don’t have situations where big races like the Guineas clash on the same day or that different rules apply from state to state. Sometimes there is not enough compromise for the betterment of Australian racing. The fact you can’t watch both Sydney and Melbourne racing on the one primary wagering channel with mounting yard coverage is not ideal.
I’d love to see night racing held at Randwick once the new rail lines are complete. Hours should be condensed so the last race finishes at 9pm or just after, otherwise it starts getting too taxing on participants. Free entry should be considered.
Favourite sport? Rugby League. My team is St George [Illawarra Dragons] and they’re in a rebuilding phase at the moment!
Last holiday destination? Noosa (QLD) with Krystle and our 15 month-year-old daughter Madison.
How has life changed since being a dad? I’m just starting to get the gist of it in all honesty. It took a while for the enormity of parenthood and the responsibility that comes with it to settle in. It’s not about just Krystle and me anymore. I’ve got a new little best mate who’s banging at the window when she hears the car pull in to the driveway. It’s a great realisation and I’d love to expand the brood one day, they’re addictive little buggers!
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