A number of classy colts and geldings whose connections hold Caulfield Guineas (1600m) ambitions will meet in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Undefeated Darley colt Safeguard is set to make his first appearance at the races since winning the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) at Randwick in April and is one of only three horses in the field who have not been nominated for the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas.
Trainer Peter Snowden told News Limited earlier in the week that he believed the Exceed And Excel colt would be better suited to sprinting events with the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day his ultimate spring goal.
Another horse set to reappear for the first time since competing in the Kindergarten Stakes is Peter Moody-trained Il Cavallo.
The son of Choisir moved into Golden Slipper contention with an impressive four length victory in the Swettenham Stud Handicap (900m) at Sandown on debut in March but the three-year-old failed to earn a run in the $3.5 million race.
Il Cavallo finished a disappointing seventh when starting favourite in the Kindergarten Stakes but did a lot of work early on a track that did not play well for leaders.
Exciting colt Clevadude has been included in the Vain Stakes final field and is looking for his second straight victory after he held off a fast-finishing Cauthen in the Sweeney Can Do Agents Handicap (1000m) at Moonee Valley on August 3.
Clevadude was included in the Caulfield Guineas nominations that were released last week but trainer Rick Hore-Lacy has not ruled out a possible tilt at the Coolmore Stud Stakes.
Fast ‘N’ Rocking will return to the races for the first time since his lengthy 2013 Autumn Racing Carnival campaign that saw him compete at Group 1 level on three occasions.
The son of Fastnet Rock raced consistently but failed to breakthrough for a victory with his best results a second place finish behind Miracles Of Life in the Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) and an unlucky second in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m).
The Caulfield Guineas is the major spring goal for Fast ‘N’ Rocking and trainer David Hayes has also included a nomination for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Regimental Pride, Hill Spy, This Is War, Duran and Tequila Red have also been included in the Vain Stakes final field.