Epsom Handicap: The Candy Man’s connection to champion Gunsynd

The Candy Man will revive memories of the great Gunsynd when he contests the Group 1 $1 million TAB Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.

Gunsynd was one of the most popular champions of any era — there was even a hit song written in his honour — and was trained by Tommy Smith to win the 1971 Epsom.

He then won the Toorak Handicap and George Adams (now Cantala) Handicap that spring before returning in the autumn to win the 1972 Doncaster — the first and still only horse to win all four Group 1 mile handicaps in the same season.

Gunsynd’s riders wore the distinctive colours of purple and white halves, the same as The Candy Man’s jockey Regal Bayliss will wear in the Epsom Handicap.

The ownership group provides the link between both horses.

The Candy Man is raced by Angelo “Lucky” Pippos whose late brother George had a quarter-share in Gunsynd.

The Candy Man’s co-trainer Peter Snowden revealed Gunsynd was his favourite racehorse all those years ago.

“I was only a kid, about 13 or 14, when Gunsynd was doing his farewell tour and the horse came to Scone and galloped down the home straight with Kevin Langby in the saddle,’’ Snowden said.

“Gunsynd was my idol back then and I was in awe watching him that day.

“To think all these years later, I am training a horse racing in Gunsynd’s colours, it’s a great honour.’’

Gunsynd with the same colours as The Candy Man.Source:The Daily Telegraph

The Candy Man, a conspicuous grey in colour just like Gunsynd, is a classy galloper in his own right, winning 11 of 24 starts.

Previously trained in Queensland by Barry Baldwin, The Candy Man ($34) was sent to Snowden, who co-trains with his son Paul, for the Sydney spring carnival and has had one start for his new stable, finishing a good fourth in the Cameron Handicap behind Rock.

“We were very happy with The Candy Man’s run at Newcastle and he has thrived since, the horse looks really well,’’ Snowden said.

“I’ve never won an Epsom.

“I can’t recall the last runner I had in the race, but it would be a special moment in my career if we can win it with a horse that has links with Gunsynd.’’

The Snowdens also have Group 1 ambitions with the brilliant Dame Giselle, who is chasing a coveted Princess Series clean sweep in the $500,000 Darley Flight Stakes (1600m).

Dame Giselle has been in superb form this spring, winning the Silver Shadow Stakes, Furious Stakes and Tea Rose Stakes in quick session. If she can add the Flight Stakes to her record, she will become only the third filly to win claim the Princess Series after Samantha Miss (2008) and Angst (1993).

Dame Giselle is one more win from a clean sweep of the Princess Series. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

But Dame Giselle ($2.70) is not favourite for the Flight Stakes with concerns about her ability to run a strong 1600m and the impressive closing efforts of Hungry Heart ($2.30) at her past two starts when runner-up to her arch rival in the Furious and Tea Rose Stakes.

Snowden said it was important for Dame Giselle to draw well and, from barrier one, he believes his filly should get every opportunity to run out the 1600m.

“I would expect Vangelic to lead and we could get the sit following her or even ‘pop’ off that filly’s heels and sit outside the leader,’’ Snowden said.

“Dame Giselle’s greatest asset is her turn of foot and we want to give her the opportunity to use it in the race.’’

The Snowden stable’s Melbourne Cup hopeful Carif ($34) continues his spring carnival campaign in the Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m).

The father-son training combination also saddle up three competitive chances in the Group 3 $160,000 Breeders’ Plate (1000m) for the two-year-old colts and geldings with Kalashnikov ($2.60 favourite) ahead of his stablemates Construct ($5.50) and Astrologer ($15).

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Originally published asCandy Man revives memories of racing great

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