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The two horses dominating the 2011 Golden Rose betting markets, Smart Missile and Helmet, are set to face off in a highly-spruiked showdown at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday having both been entered for the $125,000 Group 3 Run To The Rose (1200m).
There were 10 nominations for the 2011 Run To The Rose this weekend, the three-year-old sprint feature serving as the perfect early guide for Luxbet punters ahead of the opening Group 1 showdown of the season – the $1 million Golden Rose (1400m) on September 10.
Early Golden Rose 2011 odds at Luxbet are currently lead by the Anthony Cummings-trained Smart Missile at $4 and Peter Snowden’s dual Group 1 winner Helmet paying $6.
The duo are set to make their three-year-old debuts at Saturday.
Lightly-raced Fastnet Rock colt Smart Missile will be out to maintain their unbeaten record having won both of their career starts to date including their upset win over superstar Sepoy on the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) last-start at Rosehill on March 19.
After missing the Golden Slipper due to a mishap in the barriers, Smart Missile was spelled and showed they were ready to return and dominate again after winning a barrier trial at Randwick on August 8.
“I’ll be surprised the day he gets beaten, his trial was awesome and Glen Boss has a big opinion of the horse,” Cumming said.
“Any time he goes out to do any sort of work the horse reinforces it.”
Cummings is bullish over Smart Missile’s first-up chances on Saturday, when ridden by Glen Boss, holding full faith that he won’t disappoint after all the hype.
“At the end of the day there comes a time when all the talk stops and the horse has to come out and prove it himself,” Cummings said.
“I think he is the real deal and he can be the star of the show.”
Meanwhile Sepoy’s trainer Snowden is confident that stablemate of the Golden Slipper winner Helmet, winner of the AJC Sires Produce Stakes – Champagne Stakes Group 1 double last season, is also on track for a supercharged spring.
The Exceed And Excel colt has won four of their five career starts to date, not having lost since running third to Karuta Queen on debut back in October last year.
Helmet also comes in the Run to the Rose on the back of a single trial when they finished fourth over 800 metres at Warwick Farm on August 11.
“He has only had the one trial but he is forward enough to win,” Snowden assured punters.
“He’s a massive horse and a very nice horse.
“I’m looking forward to getting him back.
“It is going to be short of his best distance but being fresh I’m sure he’ll put himself somewhere there.
“This will top him off well next week and then he’s got two weeks for the Golden Rose and he’ll acquit himself there.”
Snowden is vying for his third Golden Rose success next month having previously taken out the lucrative feature with Forensics (2008) and Denman (2009), the dedicated horseman looking forward to race day.
“This is going to be a really good Golden Rose and it’s what you want it to be,” Snowden said.
“It’s a Group One and the timing of it this year is perfect for a lot of horses.
“It’s only a couple of weeks later and it’s a flow on effect right through to the (Caulfield) Guineas.
“Most of the good horses are aiming at the Golden Rose into the Guineas (October 8).”
Of Helmet and the danger he presents to Smart Missile on Saturday, Cummings was quick to suggest his horse was the stronger of the two.
“(Helmet is) a talented horse and he has a ver good record but my view is he is not as good as Smart Missile,” he said.
Other notable 2011 Run To The Rose nominees this year include the John O’Shea-trained Foxwedge who won the Group 3 San Domenico Stakes first-up on August 13 and Snowden’s progressive filly Anise, runner-up in the San Domenico.
Cummings, still, was unfazed by the level of competition and by the fact that Foxwedge and Anise were already one run into their preparations.
“The horses coming out of the San Domenico have an advantage, a horse like Foxwedge, but my horse has had the wood on those types and I hope it remains the case,” he said.
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