Exceed And Excel Colt Makes Winning Debut in Canonbury Stakes
Mark Smith - Saturday February 2

Sent off an odds-on favourite off the back of a couple of barrier trial wins, the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained McLaren looked the consummate professional on debut in Saturday's Group III Canonbury Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens.

McLarenJames McDonald settled the son of Exceed And Excel just off the pace set by Exceed The Star before taking control at the 300 metres to safely hold the determined finish of the $750,000 Redoute's Choice colt Spring Loaded by three-quarters of a length with the Wandjina colt Deep Chill one and three-quarter lengths back in third.

"It's good to get it done but there's a lot of room for improvement there," Peter Snowden said.

"What I did like he began well and when it looked like he might start to go too keenly he came back off. I'm glad James gave him the opportunity to do that and he did it well, which is a big plus.

"He's only a young horse having his first start, you can't do any more than win and he did that well today.

"What we do now depends on the horse. We will see how he comes through the run.

"He's not a gross horse and he might need a bit more of this to get him to settle but he's an exciting colt. What he does at home is really, really good. I've only let him go once and that was enough for me to see what he can do.

Snowden praised McLaren's (image Stave Hart) powerful army of owners that includes Newgate Farm, China Horse Club and Winstar Farm.

"It's a big tick for them too. They put a lot into it. If you can get one that's all you need. If it's the right one, they are home," Snowden concluded.

A $380,000 purchase by China Horse Club/Newgate/Winstar out of the Baramul Stud draft at the 2018 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, McLaren is a half-brother to the Group III Maribyrnong Plate runner Cao Cao (Fastnet Rock).

His dam Serenada, a 4-time winning daughter of Encosta de Lago, is a half-sister to Group II Caulfield Sprint winner and Group 1 WRC Telegraph Handicap runner-up First Command), as well as the star Hong Kong Sprinter One World (Danehill Dancer) a Group II winner and multiple Group 1, placed.

Serenada's dam River Serenade (Hurricane Sky) is a sister to the Group 1 Oakleigh Plate heroine River Dove who is the dam of Group II Silver Slipper Stakes winner and young Vinery stallion Headwater, who like McLaren is a son of Exceed And Excel.

Serenada had a Snitzel filly last spring after her colt foal by that stallion had died after birth the previous year. She was bred back to Snitzel last year.

McLaren becomes the 154th stakes-winner for Darley Stud's trailblazing reverse shuttler Exceed And Excel who covered 76 mares last spring at a fee of $82,500.