Darley gelding Long John stamped himself as a leading contender for the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) with an impressive victory in the Henry Bucks Best Dressed Stakes (1400m) at Flemington today.
Long John received a lovely run in transit and showed impressive acceleration when he was asked for an extra effort by jockey Steve Arnold with 300 metres left to run in the race.
The son of Street Cry stayed on strongly to run away from the rest of the field in the final stages of the race and record a two and a half lengths victory over stablemate San Diego and Peter Moody-trained Weinholt.
The three-year-old finished third behind Cauthen and Shamus Award in the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley a fortnight ago and stable foreman Paul Snowden was delighted with the improvement the horse showed in his second-up assignment.
“He has improved a lot and we were quietly confident heading into today,” Snowden said after the race.
“He looked the winner a long way out and it was really good to see him put away what was a pretty classy field.”
The Caulfield Guineas is the obvious 2013 Spring Racing Carnival target for Long John and Snowden admitted that was the most likely option for the classy gelding.
“That is the decision that the team is going to have to make and obviously Dad is going to be heavily involved as to where he goes,” Snowden said.
“He will go to the Guineas Prelude for sure.”
While Long John deservedly received all the plaudits for his sensational win his stablemate San Diego was just as impressive and looks like be a leading contender for the staying events for three-year-olds later in the spring, while boom Kiwi colt Cauthen, who started the race as favourite, was asked to work hard in the early stages of the race and was one of the first horses beaten.