Murwillumbah trainer Matthew Dunn is looking...
Superstar colt Sepoy is set for his highly-spruiked return to racing this Saturday in Caulfield’s Vain Stakes, trainer Peter Snowden naming the 2011 Coolmore Stud Stakes as the main spring aim for his Blue Diamond Stakes – Golden Slipper double winner.
Elusive Quality three-year-old Sepoy will be the headline runner in the $100,000 Listed Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield this weekend as he races first-up since his blistering success in the $3.5 million Golden Slipper in Sydney on April 2.
Having won five of his six starts to date, Sepoy has already amassed an incredible $2.85 million in prize money for Darley Racing and odds are he will easily add to this figure during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
“He’s nowhere near his top,” Snowden said of Sepoy, who is already a very valuable stallion prospect, ahead of the Vain Stakes.
“But he’s been in work three months so he is ready to run very well.”
There are some doubts surrounding Sepoy and how he will race as a three-year-old, considering the poor record of star juveniles during their follow-up seasons.
Danzero back in 1994 remains the sole Golden Slipper winning colt or gelding in the past two decades, of nine that have tried, to win first-up as a three-year-old.
While Danzero did win first up, their name is not on the even more disheartening list of only two of the nine male Golden Slipper winners to add another Group 1 win to their record; Flying Spur (1995) and Dance Hero (2004) the only two to have done so.
“In his trials and his trackwork he seems the same horse to me,” Snowden said of last season’s ace two-year-old.
“He is bigger and stronger no doubt, but fingers crossed that nothing else has changed (from last season).
“He certainly doesn’t seem to have lost any of his ability, but I suppose they’ve got to get out and do it, so that’s what I’m hoping for this Saturday.”
Snowden is hoping that Sepoy’s class, his hard-work since coming back to work and the fact that jockey Kerrin McEvoy, aboard for Sepoy’s three most recent wins including his Group 1 double, will give him the advantage in the Vain Stakes.
“He was able to do things that few other two-year-olds were able to manage in his juvenile year and he wasn’t over-taxed and has really enjoyed his break and has come back in terrific order,” Snowden said.
Last year’s Vain Stakes was won by Toorak Toff who won the $1 million Golden Rose at their next start, but it is unlikely that Sepoy will vie for the same double.
Despite sitting at the top of the Luxbet odds for the 2011 Golden Rose in Sydney on September 10, Snowden has indicated that Sepoy was a doubtful acceptor for the opening Group 1 race of the season.
Instead Sepoy is set to dominate the feature three-year-old races in Melbourne this prep including the $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, Saturday October 29.
“I’ve set a program to go through to the Coolmore Stud Stakes on Derby Day at Flemington,” Snowden confirmed.
Sepoy, who is tipped to head to Europe next year to race for owner Sheikh Mohammed in the global arena, is also a chance to run in the 2012 Australian Guineas next March over the Flemington mile.
Snowden and Darley will have strong representation in the early spring black-types at Caulfield this weekend.
Other notable runners from the stable that are set to resume at Saturday’s meeting include Flight Stakes third placegetter Parables, promising Redoute’s Choice filly Glissade and Group 3 winning four-year-old Bullbars.
Four-year-old Lonhro mare Parables will contest the other Group race on the Caulfield card, the $125,000 Group 3 WW Cockram Stakes (1200m).
She resumes from a five and a half month spell, before which Parables won the Group 2 Surround Stakes at Warwick Farm on March 5.
The Surround Stakes was her second stakes victory, Snowden hopeful Parables can continue her consistent form this spring.
Glissade is set for success in the $100,000 Listed Quezette Stakes (1100m), the well-bred three-year-old having run a brave second to stablemate Once Last Dance in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Fillies Prelude (1100m) last start at Caulfield on February 12.
Meanwhile Australian Guineas runner-up Bullbars will look to return with a first-up win in the $100,000 Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m), the progressive son of Elusive Quality having run a sixth in the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes 91500m) at Rosehill in his last run back in March.
Back home in Sydney at Rosehill Snowden will be keeping a keen eye on Commands four-year-old Soul in the $100,000 Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) while last-start Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes winning filly Anise will have her first start this prep in the $125,000 Group 3 San Domenico Stakes (1100m).
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