French Import Huetor Scrapes Into Hollindale Field

The Peter and Paul Snowden stable breathed a sigh of relief when French import Huetor snuck into the Group 2 Hollindale Stakes field at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Huetor was 15th in ballot order and was walking a tightrope to make the final field of 14 and scraped into the final spot for the 1800-metre feature.

Huetor is on the third line of betting at $11 behind $1.65 favourite Zaaki, who is chasing back-to-back wins in the Hollindale Stakes.

Team Snowden considered nominating Huetor for the Wagga Cup on Friday as a back-up plan if he missed a start but decided to roll the dice in the hope of heading to Queensland.

“We thought about the Wagga Cup but in the end, we didn’t really want to send him there before he went to Queensland as it’s a lot of travelling,” co-trainer Paul Snowden said.

Snowden said Huetor had the ability to sustain a long sprint unlike most European stayers which augurs well for his Australian career.

Huetor and stable mate Old Flame, who is entered for The Coast at Kembla on Saturday, are the only two overseas horses bought by Team Snowden.

A winner up to 2400 metres in France, Huetor was unbeaten in his first four starts on Australian soil before suffering his first defeat when third to Our Playboy on a heavy track at Randwick on April 16.

“It was a terrific run last time as no horses made up ground that day except him,” Snowden said.

“Nothing went right for him on a track that was heavily biased towards leaders.”

Team Snowden is chasing its first Hollindale Stakes win and knows Huetor faces a tough battle against the in-form favourite Zaaki.

Like Huetor, Zaaki arrived as a relatively unknown on Australian shores last year from the United Kingdom with a Group 3 success the best of four overseas wins.

Zaaki also made an immediate impact in the southern hemisphere winning the Hollindale Stakes, Doomben Cup and Q22 from his first five Australian runs.

He has since gone on to win twice more at the highest level in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes and Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes before claiming the $5 million All-Star Mile at Flemington in March.

Snowden sees little comparison between the pair’s initial campaigns in Australia.

“Zaaki came over mid preparation and carried on from there while Huetor had two months off from his last run overseas and started fresh here,” he said.

“It’s all irrelevant now but Huetor is still only lightly raced and keeps improving.”

Huetor is attempting to repeat Zaaki’s feats of claiming the Hollindale Stakes, Doomben Cup on May 21 and The Q22 on June 11.

The Hollindale Stakes has been dominated by interstate and New Zealand gallopers since it was first run in 1989 with the Chris Jordan-trained Fulmonti the only successful local in 2009.

– Racing Queensland

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