Robert Sangster Stakes: Ethan Brown Savors First Group 1 Success With Exceptional Ride Aboard Snapdancer

Young rider Ethan Brown not only scored his first stakes victory, but also a first Group 1 win when Snapdancer led all the way in the Robert Sangster Stakes.

Victorian jockey Ethan Brown secured the first Group 1 win of his career with a bold, cutting-edge display on Snapdancer to beat the Robert Sangster Stakes at Morphettville on Saturday.

Incredibly, the dominant display wasn’t just the 23-year-old’s first win at the highest level, it was his first classic race of any kind 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 down the straight to greet $17, with her stablemate Away Game ($7.50) a length and half away in second place and $5 favorite September Run finishing strong for third place.

It has been an eventful period for Brown, who was suspended for three months for his part in the Airbnb scandal in August, but has recovered in the best way possible and is now enjoying the top of his career.

“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 would be taking his grandparents to dinner in Adelaide to celebrate.

“I can’t explain the feeling: I’ve been in that situation several times and I was exhausted, but the feeling that she was giving me, I was confident in a fair exit.

“It’s been a lifelong dream and achieving it at such a young age is so surreal.”

Maher is no stranger to Group 1 success and was delighted with the young rim.

“He’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, he’s just fantastic.”

It was a career high for Snapdancer, who improved his record to six wins from 18 starts, for nearly $1.3 million in prize money.

It’s been a long four-state campaign for the five-year-old, who began in December with a second-place finish in the Listed Razor Sharp Handicap at Randwick, before winning the Magic Millions Fillies & Mares at Gold Coast, catching Group 3 Triscay. Stakes in February and then disappointing in the last start of the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap.

The stable freshened her up with that performance and it worked like a charm.

“I really couldn’t figure out (anything) that happened in the last start (at Newmarket) – was there a bias on the track or if he just didn’t like the straight,” Maher said.

“I instilled it in Ethan: ‘if you start, the rest is easy.’ I was very surprised at how easily he communicated, so that’s a great result.

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

“And Away Game, she must be the best maid of honor in the country.”

Another Award prepared by Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas was the best of the local squad, running home strong for fourth place.

Meanwhile, Group 1 winner Bella Vella’s connections confirmed she is likely to retire again after dropping out to finish 13th.

The seven-year-old, who was sold to Rosemount Stud for $1.9 million last year, returned to training after failing to have a foal.

He resumed after more than a year out of the picture with a fine win in the Group 3 Irwin Stakes last month, but failed to fire in Group 1.

The talented Godolphin filly Heresy, who placed 10th, bled out for the first time and has been suspended for three months.

Originally Posted as Robert Sangster Stakes: Ethan Brown Tastes First Group 1 Hit With Rare Trip Aboard Snapdancer

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