Soaring high, King Of Sparta cemented his claim for April’s prestigious $5 million The Quokka with a thrilling victory in Sydney’s Group 2 Expressway Stakes 2024. The win marks back-to-back triumphs for Team Snowden’s talented sprinter, solidifying his credentials as a force to be reckoned with.

King Of Sparta Wins the 2024 Expressway Stakes

King Of Sparta wins the 2024 Expressway Stakes in Sydney. Photo: Steve Hart.

After a five-week break, the I Am Invincible gelding unleashed a barnstorming late run in the $300,000 Expressway Stakes (1200m), leaving his rivals trailing in his wake. This commanding victory echoes his dominant performance at the Gold Coast, where he secured a two-length victory in the $1 million Magic Millions Sprint just weeks prior.

“He’s in great form. As we’ve handled him the last few years it’s really working with him. Little breaks in between, less is more for him. He’s certainly paying us the dividends now,” co-trainer Paul Snowden said.

The key to King Of Sparta’s triumph lay in James McDonald’s masterful ride. The champion jockey patiently waited before unleashing the gelding’s raw power in the final furlong, reeling in his rivals with ease.

“I was actually (confident),” McDonald told the media after the commanding win.

“Lobbed into a lovely spot and the pace really quickened from the 600m.

“I just had to bide my time a little bit and he come up the rise under his own steam even though I was spotting them so far.

“He’s got a lethal turn of foot. He’s just a good horse, he’s so solid.”

While Bjorn Baker‘s Malkovich set a blistering pace initially, fading in the final stages. The highly-anticipated return of Buenos Noches proved disappointing, with the odds-on favourite finishing well off the pace in his first-up run.

Coal Crusher, trained by Joe Pride, emerged as a strong contender, pushing King Of Sparta until the very end. Ultimately, the flashing finish belonged to King Of Sparta, with Coal Crusher securing a commendable second place. Malkovich held on for a minor placing, while the favourite finished out of the money.

With this victory, King Of Sparta solidifies his position in The Quokka, scheduled for April 20 in Western Australia. Currently priced at $8 at Ladbrokes having already secured a slot in the second edition of the event, he stands as a serious contender for the lucrative Ascot feature.

2024 Expressway Stakes Results

Finish No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Bar. Weight Penalty Starting Price
1 1 KING OF SPARTA Peter & Paul Snowden James McDonald 2 57.5kg $4
2 2 COAL CRUSHER Joseph Pride Tyler Schiller 0.42L 5 57.5kg $10
3 6 MALKOVICH Bjorn Baker Joshua Parr 0.76L 4 56kg $13
4 4 BUENOS NOCHES Matthew Smith Nash Rawiller 1.42L 6 56.5kg (cd 57kg) $1.75F
5 5 STRAIT ACER Edward Cummings Tommy Berry 3.82L 3 56kg $17
6 7 WEST OF DALBY Benjamin Smith Brock Ryan 4.66L 7 51kg $51
7 3 GOLDEN MILE James Cummings Zac Lloyd (a) 5.54L 1 57.5kg $11

Table Credit: Racing Australia.

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About The Author

Lucy Henderson

Lucy is an experienced horse racing journalist that has been a crucial member of the team for the better part of a decade. She has taken great delight in covering champion mares Black Caviar and Winx throughout their careers and always has a soft spot for a winning filly.