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Third win for Samantha as PJ Bell beckons

Snitzel filly Samantha continued to build towards the PJ Bell Stakes on the opening day of The Championships with an impressive victory in the Fireball Stakes at Randwick.

The three-year-old, who was spooked by her race debut at Hawkesbury last July, was comfortable throughout the 1100m trudge on a wet track in Sydney on Saturday, scoring by 1/2 length ahead of Glenall, who pipped Super Maxi by a nose.

After watching Corey Brown get her to the line out wide, trainer Gerald Ryan declared: “This could be the best Snitzel filly I’ve had since Snitzerland.”

Snitzerland banked $1.9 million from 20 starts between 2011-14 and although Samantha ($6.10) is only five races into her career she is on the up after a difficult debut.

“We got her into a race and she started to feel the pinch and drop away a little bit. We only gave her the one run at Hawkesbury (where she finished fourth) and turned her out.

“She came back a hell of a lot stronger filly,” Ryan said.

He said the PJ Bell on April 1 was the aim, and he would not be overly worried if Randwick presented in similar condition because “she ploughs through the mud”.

Ryan admitted his other Snitzel product Menari did not handle the heavy 9 track before finishing fifth in the Group Two $300,000 Todman Stakes (1200m).

“He handled a wet track when he trialled on Monday but that’s a hell of a lot different to out here. He knows where he is, he knows where he’s going (at Rosehill),” Ryan said, describing Menari as “borderline” for the Golden Slipper.

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