Enigmatic colt Safeguard will run in the Listed Starlight Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday; with trainer Peter Snowden keen to get more racing into the legs of the inconsistent three-year-old.
Safeguard won the Christmas Season Plate (1000m) and Group 3 Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) as a juvenile and was considered one of the leading chances for the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) but missed the race due to a fever.
The son of Exceed And Excel extended his unbeaten record with a narrow win over Fast ‘N’ Rocking and Hill Spy in the Group 3 Vain Stakes (1100m) in his first-up run during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival but was unable to return to the winners circle in three subsequent runs.
He finished fourth behind Charlie Boy in the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) at Flemington on September 7 before finishing second behind Lion Of Belfort in the Blue Sapphire (1200m) at Caulfield on October 12.
The Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) was set to be the next race start for Safeguard but missed the race due to a temperature and he failed to fire when finishing sixth behind Lankan Rupee in the Listed Earl Grey Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on Crown Oaks Day.
Snowden admits that he has been both disappointed and frustrated by Safeguard’s performances this preparation and is hoping that giving him two starts during the Sydney Summer Sprint Series will help him mature as a horse and eliminate the habits that are costing him races.
“He will be having at least two runs, I am still learning about the horse and I want to find out more rather than just tipping him out for a break,” Snowden told TVN.
“He is still very lightly raced, he still does a lot wrong and he can’t be if we want him to compete at the top level.
“He still pulls a bit hard, looms up to win but is not going on with the job.
“I want to teach him to relax and then find the line like we know he can because he has the ability.”
Snowden has not decided on what races Safeguard will target during the 2014 Autumn Racing Carnival but believes he will still have the chance to get the three-year-old ready for the carnival even if he does not head to the spelling paddock until after he runs in the Listed Razor Sharp (1200m) at Royal Randwick in just over a fortnight.
“Racing him in to the start of summer still gives me plenty of time for him to have an autumn carnival,” Snowden said.
“The options for sprinters are quite sparce in the autumn and they aren’t until March, April and even on to May so there is an opportunity to press on with him and try to work him out.”
The Starlight Stakes has drawn a strong field; with Straight Albert, Master Harry, Uate, Jacquinot Bay and Fireball all beginning their summer campaigns in the Listed event.