CHAMPION trainer Peter Snowden can make a compelling case for stablemates Island Missile and Hypnotist - who clash in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1400m) on Randwick on Saturday.
TAB Fixed Odds price assessors have Island Missile at $5 and Hypnotist at $11 but Snowden, who trains in partnership with his son, Paul, doesn't believe there is much between the three-year-olds.
Island Missile at least has had a comeback race, a solid effort when closing late for fourth behind You Make Me Smile over 1200m two weeks ago.
"We were pleased to see Island Missle settle really well,'' Snowden said.
"He has tended to be a bit keen in his races in the past but we have taken the blinkers off, he relaxed early and finished hard. If he brings that run to the races, he should be hard to beat.''
Hypnotist hasn't raced since finishing seventh in the Sandown Guineas last November but Snowden expects the colt to run very competitively, despite stepping out over 1400m.
"I am going to the races with a bit of confidence, I've been very happy with his work,'' Snowden said of Hypnotist.
"He's had a couple of barrier trials and I don't think first-up at 1400m is going to be an issue. He is capable at this level.''
Hypnotist is owned by James Harron Bloodstock, which also races the Snowden-trained juvenile Helaku, a starter in the #TheRaces Handicap (1200m).
Helaku had finished just behind the placegetters in his first two starts at the provincials before Snowden sent the gelding to Muswellbrook, where he won his maiden impressively by nearly five lengths.
But Snowden conceded Helaku needed to "raise the bar" again given the quality of opposition he faces on Saturday.
"The two-year-olds races for this time of year are very solid races,'' Snowden said.
"Look at Canterbury last Wednesday - we had Sneaking To Win and Napoleon Solo run the placings (behind Master Ash) but there was some good horses in that field. There is no such thing as an easy race these days, it doesn't matter where you race them.''
Snowden said he believed Helaku had gained confidence from Muswellbrook.
"Helaku has been more switched on at home after that race,'' Snowden said.
"I think the three-hour float trip to Muswellbrook, spending the day at the races, it was a different experience for him, it is a seasoning thing with these young horses. If he puts it all together he is capable of running very well.''
The Snowden stable also has the well-bred three-year-old filly Marishka lining up in the Randwick Mayor's Cup (1100m).
Marishka resumed over 900m at Newcastle two weeks ago and worked to the line well for third behind the speedy Puppet Master.
"Her trials had been nice and I thought she ran quite a good race at Newcastle,'' Snowden said.
"The step up to 1100m suits her and this race is winnable, if she brings her best to the races.''
Snowden is hopeful second emergency Smartedge can squeeze into the field for the Tab.com.au Handicap (1300m) but said there were suitable races next week for the sprinter if he misses a start today.
"We had to scratch Smartedge the other day because of a stone bruise but he was over that in two days,'' he revealed.
"He trialled again last Friday and went really well. He's in good form and will be hard to beat when he does race next.''
Meanwhile, Snowden said super sprinter Redzel was starting to pick up pace at trackwork as part of his preparation for the $13 million The Everest at Royal Randwick on October 13.
Redzel won the inaugural The Everest last year and Snowden said he planned to try to follow the winning formula and give the gelding two starts into the world's richest turf race.
"He has been back in the stables about a month and is doing some pacework,'' Snowden said.
"The sun on his back in Queensland was great for him during his spell, he's freshened up nicely and we are just starting to do some faster work with him.
"He is about a month off trialling. I plan to give him two runs into The Everest, I'm just not sure which two races yet.''