Helmet’s Caulfield Guineas campaign is firmly back on track after the star colt turned in a faultless display to demolish his rivals in Saturday’s $175,000 Group 3 The Age Caulfield Guineas Prelude at Caulfield.
The dual Group 1 winner displayed none of the wayward tendencies that have plagued his career to cruise to the fifth win of his eight-start career in near-track-record time and bring a big smile to the face of proud trainer Peter Snowden.
“Today’s the first day I can say he did everything right,” Snowden said. “He bounced perfect, he travelled good off a hot speed, he relaxed good and then quickened into his stride.
“To me, I think it’s only a touch of what the horse’s ability truly is.
“He’s copped a fair bit of work the last week and jumps (training), we’ve done a lot with him, and I think it’s brought the horse right on now and hopefully he just goes on with it in a fortnight’s time.”
The $1 million The Age Caulfield Guineas (1600m) will be run on Saturday, 8 October and Helmet is now the $4 second favourite behind Smart Missile ($3.20).
The son of Exceed And Excel got within 0.2secs of his sire’s track record when covered the 1400m on the Guineas Prelude in 1:21.4.
Helmet jumped beautifully from barrier five and jockey Kerrin McEvoy was content to sit in secnd spot behind Golden Archer, who got fired up after being driven to the early lead and ran the field along.
McEvoy popped off the fence at the 600m and ambled alongside Golden Archer at the 500m, sitting quietly until soon after straightening when he dashed clear.
The $2.60 favourite powered away over the concluding stages to score by 3-1/4 lengths from Secret Hills ($18), who stuck on well after racing prominently, while Specter ($14) flashed home to cut Running Tall ($51) out of third placing.
Golden Archer ($3.60) weakened badly late after his earlier efforts and beat just one runner home.
McEvoy was thrilled to see Helmet bounce back after a pair of third placings at the first two runs of his campaign and said he felt he had the race won a long way out.
“He travelled up and always travelled like a winner from about the 1000 onwards,” McEvoy said.
“It was good to see him concentrate and do it properly because we’ve all had faith in him, it was just getting a bit annoying with his antics. Today was a real positive step and he’s got great ability as we can see.”
Helmet now progresses to the $1 million The Age Caulfield Guineas and remains entered for the $3 million Tatts Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on 22 October.
“It’s there, but he’s got to be as dominant or even more so next start for me to think about that because that’s an absolute professional race at a very tricky track,” Snowden said of the Cox Plate.
“If he can win next start we’ll think about it, but at the moment I’m just thinking about two weeks’ time.”