Young rider Ethan Brown picked up not only his first stakes victory but also a first Group 1 when Snapdancer led all the way in the Robert Sangster Stakes.
Victorian jockey Ethan Brown claimed the first Group 1 victory of his career with a daring display on Snapdancer to win the Robert Sangster Stakes at Morphettville on Saturday.
Incredibly, the dominating display wasn’t just the 23-year-old’s first victory at the highest level, it was his first stakes run of any kind and he did it in style.
Brown sent the mare trained by Ciaron Maher and David Eustace forward from the outside gate and that’s where she stayed, kicking clear down the straight to salute at $17, along with her mate Away Game Stable ($7.50) at a length and a half in second and $5 favorite The September race finished strong for third place.
It’s been a turbulent time for Brown, who was suspended for three months for his role in the Airbnb scandal in August, but he’s bounced back in the best way possible and can now enjoy the pinnacle of racing.
“I really can’t believe it, having my first Group 1 here, especially for Ciaron and Brad Spicer, it’s amazing,” said Brown, who confirmed he was taking his grandparents to dinner in Adelaide to to celebrate that.
“I can’t explain this feeling – I’ve been in this situation a few times and felt exhausted, but the feeling it gave me, I was confident of a good outcome.
“It’s a lifelong dream and to get it at such a young age is so surreal.”
Maher is no stranger to Group 1 success and was thrilled for the young hoop.
“It’s great for Browny, he does a lot for the team,” Maher said.
“He really thinks about what he does – he does a lot of homework – it’s just fantastic.”
It was a career high for Snapdancer, which improved its record to six wins from 18 starts, for nearly $1.3 million in prize money.
It was a long four-state campaign for the five-year-old, starting in December with a second in the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap at Randwick, before winning the Magic Millions Fillies & Mares on the Gold Coast, trapping the Group 3. Triscay Stakes in February then disappointing in the final start of Group 1 Newmarket Handicap.
The team freshened it up after that performance and it worked wonders.
“I couldn’t quite figure out (anything) what happened at the last start (at Newmarket) – there was a track bias or if it just didn’t like the straight,” Maher said.
“I drilled it into Ethan – ‘if you get the start, the rest is easy’. I was very surprised at how easily it passed on, so that’s a great result.
“The team did a great job with it, it’s been up for a long time – it won (that race on the Gold Coast) in January.
“And Away Game, she has to be the best bridesmaid in the country.”
The Another Award, prepared by Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas, was the best of the local brigade, taking a fine fourth place.
Meanwhile, connections for Group 1 winner Bella Vella have confirmed she is likely to retire again after retiring to finish 13th.
The seven-year-old, who was sold to Rosemount Stud for $1.9million last year, has returned to training after failing to calve.
She resumed after more than a year’s absence with a tremendous win in the Group 3 Irwin Stakes last month, but failed to pull a punch in Group 1.
The talented filly of Godolphin Heresy, who placed 10th, bled for the first time and was suspended for three months.
Originally published as Robert Sangster Stakes: Ethan Brown tastes first Group 1 success with stellar ride aboard Snapdancer