This weekend’s Cox Plate could potentially be the final time we see Helmet racing in Australia.
The three time Group 1 champion is all but guaranteed to be sent to Europe at the end of this preparation where Darley hope to further boost his stud value.
It’s the same story for Sepoy who will contest the Coolmore Stud Stakes before a final decision is made on his future.
Stable rep Paul Snowden said losing his horses to overseas trainers was simply a part of the Darley business.
“It’s going to happen. Both horses will head overseas, to either Dubai or the UK, it’s just a matter of when,” he said.
“The Sheik is coming across Derby Day and the future of them will be raised again then.”
While for many it would be hard not to become sentimental in a situation such as this for the Snowden team it’s just the way it works.
“It’s our job to train these horses and get the best out of them here, then if they go overseas, to hope they make great stallions,” he said.
Before any of that happens though they’ve got a Group 1 Cox Plate to win with Helmet looking to raise to the challenge of the older horses.
“It’s not an improvement thing with him, it’s a mental thing. He’s come on so much mentally over the past month,” Snowden said.
“It’s probably a combination of racing the Melbourne way increasing his workload as he’s stretched out in distance.
“I think he’s still in that zone and right on target for Saturday.”
The Darley team insist that the Cox Plate has been the ultimate aim all along which may alleviate some fears people have about him running the trip
“It’s always been a consideration . . . he was the only horse we paid up for (in Cox Plate entries),” Snowden said.
“Dad (Peter) planned for the Cox Plate to be his fifth run in the preparation.”
Some are saying the wide gate (10) will put further pressure on the three year old to run out the race but Snowden says they’d actually prefer him in that alley.
“We’d rather him out there, than being down near the inside and in traffic,” he said.
He says their main concerns in the race come in the form of the rampaging kiwi and stuttering Stradbroke winner.
“Jimmy Choux is very good and Sincero could be the sleeper,” he said.
Sepoy is expected to have a far easier time of it when fields are announced for the Coolmore Stud Stakes next week where he’ll be a dominant favourite.
Some people are still holding out hope that he’ll continue to the Patinack Farm Classic to face Black Caviar where he is still nominated however Darley insist it’s highly unlikely.