Snow Patrol will head straight to the Australian Guineas second-up following a tough-as-nails win fresh in the Group 2 Autumn Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.

Prepared by Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr, the son of Contributer won smartly on debut last year, but his first two tries at Benchmark 64 grade were both hard-luck stories.

However, a couple of nice jumpouts saw the Ace Bloodstock-owned gelding kept safe at $9 for Saturday’s contest, albeit a fair way off Southport Tycoon’s $1.90 quote.

And it would be those two who paired off in front at the 200-metre mark, setting up a thrilling two-horse war, but Snow Patrol dug deep and held the favourite at bay.

Kent Jr was delighted with his galloper’s fight over the final stages, as Southport Tycoon looked to be raising a final challenge late, and also with Mark Zahra’s perfectly timed steer.

Snow Patrol will now head straight to the Group 1 Australian Guineas in three weeks’ time, and being by Contributer, will potentially stretch out in distance afterwards, with races such as the G1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) to come later in the autumn.

“The last hundred (metres), the second horse really kicked back and made it tough for him and he just fought it out,” Kent said.

“A big strong, clean-winded, sound horse, the race worked out beautifully, the pace was on. How good’s Mark Zahra? He can go enjoy the NFL on Monday.

“He’s got three weeks now to the (Australian) Guineas, that’s ideal … being by that stallion, we hope he’ll get 2000 metres. Why wouldn’t he?”

Kent also paid tribute to the late Tim Mangan, who founded Ace Bloodstock with his son Darcy and was a big supporter of Price and Kent’s.

“I want to dedicate the win to Tim Mangan, his son Darcy and Tim got Ace Bloodstock going, we lost Tim earlier in the year who was in (I’m) Thunderstruck,” he said.

“Rapt for all the boys, they’re awesome guys to be in a horse with and it’s a really big win.”

Snow Patrol is an $11 chance for the Australian Guineas, to be run at Flemington on March 2nd, with King Colorado the current $5 favourite.

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