By Racinguk.com staff
Snowden won the race as a jockey four times between 2003 and 2008 and is hoping Midnight Monty will give him his first winner of the race as a trainer.
The Royal Artillery Gold Cup is restricted to amateur jockeys who must be past or existing members of the Armed Forces. The three-mile race, first run in 1878, is also restricted to horses that are owned or have been leased by those who are serving or have served in the Royal Artillery.
Major Harry Wallace has won the race twice and will be hoping to steer Midnight Monty to victory for owners, The Cherry Pickers.
All eight members of the syndicate are ex-members of the King’s Royal Hussars. The horse was bought to target the two military races at Sandown Park, with the Grand Military Gold Cup taking place following the Royal Artillery Gold Cup on March 9.
“It’s a very special race. I wouldn’t be here training today if it wasn’t for these military races,” Snowden said. “My time in the army was brilliant but I was lucky enough to be let off to ride in and train for these races, which put me in the spotlight to give me a launchpad to where we are today. I’m indebted to these races for that.”
He added: “We set up a partnership whereby the King’s Royal Hussars regiment are the owners. There’s a syndicate of eight who own the horse who are all former members.
"Myself and Harry are former members and so it would be very special to win in these circumstances.
“There are very few partnerships which are set up with these races in mind. Nowadays a lot of people lease horses for the race but this partnership went out and bought this horse a year in advance with this as the end goal. It’s very exciting.”
Midnight Monty finished a staying-on second, beaten a couple of lengths, in his prep run for Friday’s race, a showing which left Snowden satisfied.
“He finished second in a great prep run at Market Rasen last week,” he said. “He needed the run and we left a little bit to work on. That was over 2m5f and the military races are over an extended three miles, so it was a fantastic prep run. He stayed on all the way to the line and only got beaten a length.”
Wallace added: “He’s such a nice horse. It was the first time I’ve schooled him but he gives you a great feel. Even for an amateur jockey like me, the earlier you can see a stride the better and he has such a nice way of going.
“I’ve had more race rides this year than ever before. I’m not getting any younger but no one is. My weight is good and my fitness is good so I’m feeling confident. This is the year, I’m sure of it.”
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