Defcon will head to the 2016 Danehill Stakes in a fortnight after he squeezed along the inside to record a thrilling victory in the 2016 McNeil Stakes at Caulfield this afternoon.
Dwayne Dunn elected to settle Defcon in the middle of the McNeil Stakes field and he elected to take the rails run when he entered the straight.
The run looked as though it was going to close on Dunn, but Defcon managed to scrap his way along the rail before he showed a most impressive acceleration to put away his rivals in the final stages of the McNeil Stakes.
Dunn admitted that things got a bit tight for Defcon at the top of the straight, but he said that he was always confident that the Choisir colt would let down strongly when he found clear running.
“They just told me to count to five because the spirnt will come and it will come quick,” Dunn saod.
“It got a little bit tight and I had to give him a little bit of a squeeze not to get knocked over and he came back underneath me after that.
“I just had to breathe in at the top of the straight as I went up underneath Stephen Baster and his turn-of-foot was electric.
“He is a beautiful horse and Team Snowden have done a great job.
“They were a nice lot of horses out there today, so he has better things in store for sure.”
Co-trainer Peter Snowden was confident that Defcon would run well in the McNeil Stakes and he believes that the colt has returned as a much stronger three-year-old than he was as a juvenile.
Snowden is confident that Defcon will only continue to improve as he gets further into his preparation and he confirmed that he would have his next race start in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington in a fortnight.
“Dwayne gave him a great ride,” Snowden said.
“Everything we asked him to do he did and it panned out perfectly well.
“To the horses credit it was the first time here and he railed perfectly and took a needle eye opening before he showed the customary 300 metre dash that he has.
“It will win him more races than he loses and he is a more furnished product this time through.
“He is only lightly-raced and on a couple of occasions he got back and made long sustained runs, but was just coming up short.
“Now we know that the 300 metres he has got is just lethal and if we can hold him up until that last little bit it takes a good one to get by him.
“It was good to see him win like that because I am positive in my mind that he can improve off that.
“He will be going forward to the Danehill in a couple of weeks’ time and it looks perfect for him.”
Highland Beat produced another quality performance to finish second in the McNeil Stakes, while Seaburge put the writing on the wall for a big 2016 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with an eye-catching third.