Trainer Peter Snowden is confident his three year old Helmet can bounce back and emulate the deeds of the great Mahogany in winning the Australian Guineas at Flemington on Saturday.
Mahogany was a prolific Group 1 winner, earning over $3.5m, who took out the Caulfield Guineas in 1993 then followed that up with a victory in the Australian Guineas the following year.
At his first run back from a spell, Helmet didn’t have it all his own way when fifth in the Group 3 $150,000 C S Hayes (1410m) at Flemington on February 18 when jockey Kerrin McEvoy wasn’t able to get into the clear in the straight until the race was out of his keeping.
McEvoy has vowed to ride the Helmet in a more aggressive manner in the Group 1 $750,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington and is looking for a repeat of his Caulfield Guineas win when he dictated the race from up front.
“There is no doubt I will be more aggressive on Saturday, things didn’t work to plan last time and I think we will be in a better position to keep rolling this time around,” he said.
“Having that run under his belt is a big positive and I am really looking forward to riding his work to get a good guide on how much he has improved since the first-up effort.”
The Guineas will be Helmet’s final run in Australia before heading off to Dubai to run in the $US1 million UAE Derby (1800m) at Meydan in Dubai World Cup Carnival on March 31 and Snowden is certain he will bounce back to his best.
“It would be great (to win on Saturday). He’s already done a good job but I firmly believe there is more to come from the horse,” Snowden said.
“I don’t think he’s a spent force at all. There’s some good races still left in him for sure.”
Snowden said that the Exceed And Excel colt had come through his first up run good and progressed nicely since.
“The race didn’t pan out how we would have liked first-up but hopefully we can make amends on Saturday,” Snowden said.
“The run has brought him on and his work was great yesterday morning so I’m really happy with the horse.”
McEvoy will be in a similar situation this week as he was in the Hayes jumping from an inside gate but from barrier five he is certain to take Helmet to the front as he did in the Caulfield Guineas when he held off a challenge from Manawanui to win in tight photo.