Peter Snowden’s soon-to-resume champ Helmet was a dominant trial winner under the lights at Cranbourne on Tuesday evening, the crack colt showing he was well on his way to return to racing Saturday week before bowing out of the Aussie scene in the 2012 Australian Guineas in March.
A son of Exceed And Excel, Helmet has already amassed over $1.6 million in prize money over his stunning six wins from 10 start career to date.
The three-time Group 1 hero will be looking to add one final Australian elite level to his imposing record in the $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington on March 3, which will be Helmet’s swansong race down under before he heads off overseas.
Due to race on Dubai World Cup Night in the Group 1 United Arab Emirates Derby (1900m) on March 9 under Snowden’s preparation for the last time, Helmet will then be raced by thoroughbred giant Godolphin in Europe.
But first his fans at home will get two more chances to watch him run and have a punt on the three-year-old through Luxbet.
Snowden has scheduled the $200,000 Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on February 18 for Helmet’s resuming run and last night he showed he was well prepared to get back to it.
In the opening Cranbourne trial, Helmet cruised to a one and a quarter length victory over tearaway early leader First Course who he easily picked up and flew past, finishing the 1000m hitout in a time of 59.45 seconds which was the fastest of the night.
“He has the bunny in front of him and he chased it down well,” jockey Kerrin McEvoy said of the way Helmet tracked down and beat home First Course.
“Having the horse out in front probably suited him because he relaxed well behind it and when I asked him to quicken up he had something to aim at.
“This was his first test.
“It was a good, solid trial and he had the hitout he needed.
“He loved the (dead-rated) ground as well.
“The track is in great shape and he enjoyed it.”
As expected their also overseas-bound, multiple Group 1 winning stablemate Sepoy was withdrawn from his heat, the brilliant son of Elusive Quality set to gallop at Flemington on Friday morning instead.
Sepoy could race just once more in Australia when they go first-up into the $350,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) at Caulfield on February 25, Blue Diamond Stakes Day.
“Peter (Snowden) will have a look at him and see what more he needs,” McEvoy said.
“He’s not wound up by any means and he might do a bit more before then.
“He’s improving week by week.”
The other headline runner at the Cranbourne trials was Greg Eurell’s Cox Plate winner Pinker Pinker.
The champion Reset mare looked in terrific form when finishing less than a length away third behind Octavanus in an open 1000m trial, a great resuming gallop over an unsuitably short distance for her.
“I was very pleased with the way she went,” hoop Craig Williams said.
“She didn’t have the blinkers on but she’s going very well.
“She really extended when I asked her to.”
Pinker Pinker will resume racing in the $500,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 25, where she is likely to face off against the world’s highest-rated mare Black Caviar.
Helmet is currently the dominant favourite to win the 2012 Australian Guineas in the Luxbet futures paying $3.
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