The 2014 Caulfield Cup remains the spring goal for imported stayer St Jean who returned to winning form with an impressive performance in the Open Handicap (1600m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
St Jean was well-backed in the lead-up to the $80,000 event, but the Teofilo entire was slow out of the gates and was trapped in an awkward position in the early stages of the race.
The four-year-old was still caught towards the tail of the field when asked for an extra effort at the 600 metre mark, but he defied the pattern of the day to work home around the outside of the field and record a strong win from Pyrrolic and Our Voodoo Prince.
Trainer Aaron Purcell told Racing Ahead this morning that he was concerned with the position of St Jean in the early stages of the race, but said that he was thrilled with the effort of his star galloper as well as the way that he has come out of the race.
“He has been going really well at home, we expected him to run well and it turned out really good for us,” Purcell said.
“I thought that he would probably end up midfield and make his own luck, but he missed the start a little bit and ended up in an awkward spot.
“It took a good job from the jockey and horse to get him over the line.
“He is definitely going to be better when he gets to 2000, he will be able to travel closer and be just as strong at the finish.
“We took him down to the beach yesterday and he is really bright.
“There are no problems and it is full steam ahead.
“I am really looking forward to his next run.”
Purcell revealed last month that the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 20 would be the key spring race for St Jean and he confirmed that the imported galloper would have his next race start in the $150,000 race before a potential tilt at the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) at Caulfield on October 11, if he is unable to lock up a start in the Caulfield Cup with a Naturalism Stakes win.
“We are not guaranteed of getting a run and we will have to go to plan b if we don’t, but the plan a is the Naturalism,” Purcell said.
“If he wins the Naturalism he automatically gets into the Caulfield Cup and if he gets beaten in the Caulfield Cup, he would probably have to go to the Herbert Power.
“Then we will probably have to work it out from there, but the Caulfield Cup is the main aim at the moment.”
St Jean is currently available at $34 in the 2014 Caulfield Cup betting market with Ladbrokes Australia.