Young hoop Snaps up first Group 1 success with daring ride

Victorian jockey Ethan Brown secured the first Group 1 victory of his career with a bold frontrunning display on Snapdancer to take out the Robert Sangster Stakes at Morphettville on Saturday.

Incredibly, the dominant display wasn’t just the 23-year-old’s first win at the top level, it was his first stakes race of any type and he did it in style.

Brown sent the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained mare forward from the outside gate and that’s where she stayed, kicking clear in the straight to salute at $17, with stablemate Away Game ($7.50) a length and a half away in second and $5 favourite September Run finishing off strongly for third.

It’s been an eventful period for Brown, who was suspended for three months for his part in the Airbnb scandal in August, but he has bounced back in the best possible fashion and now gets to enjoy racing’s pinnacle.

“I can’t really believe it, to get my first Group 1 here, especially for Ciaron and Brad Spicer, it’s amazing,” said Brown, who confirmed he was taking his grandparents out for dinner in Adelaide to celebrate.

“I can’t explain the feeling – I’ve been in that situation a few times and got run down but the feel she was giving me, I was confident a fair way out.

“It’s been a lifelong dream and to get it at such a young age, it’s so surreal.”

Maher is no stranger to Group 1 success and was delighted for the young hoop.

“It’s great for Browny, he does a lot for the stable,” Maher said.

“He really thinks about what he’s doing – he does a lot of homework – it’s just fantastic.”

It was a career high for Snapdancer, who improved her record to six wins from 18 starts, for almost $1.3m in prizemoney.

It’s been a lengthy campaign across four states for the five-year-old, which kicked off in December with a second in the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap at Randwick, before winning the Magic Millions Fillies & Mares on the Gold Coast, snaring the Group 3 Triscay Stakes in February and then disappointing in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap last start.

The stable freshened her up off that performance and it worked wonders.

“I couldn’t really make (anything out) of what happened last start (in the Newmarket) – there was track bias or whether she 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 with how easily she got across so it’s a great result.

“The team has done a great job with her, she’s been up a long time – she won (that race on the Gold Coast) in January.

“And Away Game, she must be the best bridesmaid in the country.”

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