St Jean will begin his 2014 Spring Racing Carnival campaign at Moonee Valley on Saturday and trainer Aaron Purcell has revealed that the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 20 will be the key spring race for the imported stayer.
St Jean joined the Purcell stable at the end of 2013 after being competitive at Group level in Ireland and stamped himself as a potential Caulfield Cup contender with impressive wins in the Carlton Draught Handicap (2000m) and TVN Handicap (2400m) at the end of his autumn campaign.
The Teofilo entire will likely need to win the Naturalism Stakes to earn a start in the 2014 Caulfield Cup field and Purcell told Racing Ahead that the four-year-old would be set for a third-up tilt at the $150,000 event.
“Hopefully we are going good enough to go to the Naturalism,” Purcell said.
“After the Naturalism we will probably need to reassess where we are at and hopefully he is going good enough to end up in a Cup somewhere, but we will reassess through his third-up run.
“He was competitive in Group races in Ireland and we were hoping that he could recapture that form in Australia and he has done everything so far.
“His work at home and his last few race starts have been pretty impressive, so we are definitely looking forward to his future.”
St Jean will start his preparation over 1500 metres at Moonee Valley on Saturday and is set to face a number of other imported stayers that will be heading towards a race like the Caulfield Cup, including the Lloyd Williams-owned duo of Foundry and The United States.
Purcell admits that 1500 metres is well short of the best distance for St Jean, but he believes that the progressive galloper is fit enough to be competitive if he is able to earn a start at Moonee Valley.
“He only had three and a half weeks off and he has done some strong work at home and some strong work at the beach,” Purcell said.
“He is definitely fit enough to run a good race on Saturday.
“He is still a colt, so I was a bit worried about him putting too much condition on, but he put on a little bit, he looks really good and I am happy with him.
“1500 on a tight track, I think that he will probably get left behind a bit early, but if he can close strongly late we will be happy.”
St Jean is currently available at 2014 Caulfield Cup odds of $51 in the betting market with Ladbrokes Australia.