Peter Snowden’s smart Exceed And Excel colt Safeguard managed to retain their undefeated status at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday when resuming with a devastatingly close first-up win in the 2013 Vain Stakes.
Having won both of their previous race starts as a juvenile including the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) at Randwick in April, Safeguard jumped the $3.50 second elect in Saturday’s $135,000 Group 3 Legacy 90th Anniversary Vain Stakes (1100m).
A key lead-up race to bigger three-year-old events of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, Safeguard held on in a narrow finish to defeat the luckless David Hayes-trained Fast ‘N’ Rocking ($4.60) by a mere nose.
Robert Smerdon’s O’Reilly colt Hill Spy ($8) finished off the Vain Stakes trifecta one and a quarter lengths off the winner just defeating the Peter Moody-trained favourite Il Cavallo ($2.60) in fourth.
It was a devastating result for the connections of Fasntet Rock colt Fast ‘N’ Rocking, runner-up in the Blue Diamond Stakes back in February, whose jockey Brett Prebble failed to get a clear run in the straight.
“He’s getting this tag as a maiden but he’s the most genuine maiden I’ve trained,” Hayes said after the race according to AAP.
“He’s only ever been in Group races and he should have won that.
“It would have been great to kick off with a win.”
They will get their chance to atone when they head back to Caulfield for the $150,000 Group 3 HDF McNeil Stakes (1200m) next start on August 31.
A trip to Sydney however is their ultimate aim for a shot at the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose (1400m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 14.
Hayes admitted to also harbouring dreams of a $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) campaign for Fast ‘N’ Rocking back in Melbourne on October 12.
They are currently rated a $10 chance in the Caulfield Guineas odds trailing only Prince Harada ($6.50) and Cauthen ($7).
As for Safeguard’s upcoming spring campaign, team Darley plan to keep them to the sprint races.
They will follow the traditional lead-up to the Melbourne Cup Carnival and Victoria Derby Day at Flemington on November 2 where they will be aimed at the $500,000 Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m).
“He’s not a big horse, but he’s compact. He’s the same size as Sepoy, whether the motor is the same we will find out,” Snowden told the Sydney Morning Herald post-win on Saturday.
“That’s just his third start. There’s a lot more improvement in the horse.
“He’s got to get a bit more race-savvy but he definitely shows good potential.”
Snowden is looking at backing them up next race in the $220,000 Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) down the Flemington straight on September 7 where Saturday’s winning jockey Kerrin McEvoy believes they will be even better in.
“He still had a bit in the locker and was looking around a bit,” McEvoy said.
“It all bodes well for the rest of the spring.”
See below for the full Vain Stakes 2013 results and finishing order.
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2013 Vain Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Racecourse – 17/10/2013
|1||1||SAFEGUARD||Peter Snowden||Kerrin McEvoy||–||3||56.5kg||$3.50|
|2||2||FAST ’N’ ROCKING||David Hayes||Brett Prebble||0.1L||2||55kg||$4.60|
|3||6||HILL SPY||Robert Smerdon||Ben Melham||1.35L||5||55kg||$8|
|4||5||IL CAVALLO||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||1.55L||8||55kg||$2.60F|
|5||3||REGIMENTAL PRIDE||Stephen Brown||Stephen Baster||3.3L||6||55kg||$81|
|6||9||TEQUILA RED||Byron Cozamanis||Billy Egan||3.4L||1||55kg||$41|
|7||8||DURAN||Tony Vasil||Dwayne Dunn||5.65L||7||55kg||$21|
|8||7||THIS IS WAR||Shawn Mathrick||Brian Higgins||5.85L||4||55kg||$101|
|–||4||CLEVADUDE||Rick Hore-Lacy||Glen Boss||–||0||–||–|