Undefeated colt Safeguard will resume in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) at Caulfield on Saturday and trainer Peter Snowden is already looking towards Group 1 glory with the son of Exceed And Excel.
Safeguard has recorded wins in the Christmas Season Plate (1000m) at Flemington and the Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) at Randwick during his brief racing career and Snowden believes that the classy three-year-old is good enough to progress to Group 1 level this campaign with the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day his ultimate spring target.
Snowden told Racing Ahead that he is happy with how Safeguard has returned this preparation and said he is yet to get to the bottom of the talented galloper.
“He hasn’t changed a lot physically but he is very strong,” Snowden said on RSN.
“He is very lightly raced and we haven’t really got at him to see how much talent he has but what we have seen so far has been good and I’ve been happy with his work.
“If he goes well tomorrow he will go the Danehill second-up and that will give us a better guide as to where he is heading.
“The Coolmore has been our goal right from the get go and I am quietly confident that he is up to Group 1 level.”
With a field of nine quality horses, the Vain Stakes is expected to be a tactical affair and Safeguard has shown in his two career starts that he can lead or be ridden at the back of the field and finish strongly -like he did in the Kindergarten Stakes when he missed the start.
Snowden said he won’t be giving jockey Kerrin McEvoy any particular instructions and will allow him to ride Safeguard depending on how the race is run.
“I think I will leave it to Kerrin as to how much pace there is in the race,” Snowden said.
“The fact that he has done that is a good thing because if anything goes wrong you don’t have to panic as you know he is going to finish well.”
Snowden has had previous success in the Vain Stakes winning the race with four-time Group 1 winner Sepoy in 2011.