Peter Snowden is confident he has wayward colt Helmet’s mind on the job for his first Melbourne run in Saturday’s Caulfield Guineas Prelude.
The son of Exceed And Excel has been placed in both his races this preparation in Sydney and the trainer says he is trying a few different things to get the best out of him.
Snowden has made a couple of gear changes on the dual Group One-winning two-year-old of last season, worked him the left-handed or Melbourne way at Agnes Banks and even jumped him over obstacles.
“I’m confident he’ll run well on Saturday,” Snowden said.
“He took to them (the jumps) incredibly.
“He’s just like a bright child at school, he needs challenges all the time and the first time he went to the jumps he went straight over them and the second time he measured five strides between each one like an old professional.
“He’s that sort of horse, he learns things quickly but he does some dumb things at times.”
Stable jockey Kerrin McEvoy said he was looking forward to riding Helmet in Saturday’s Group Three event over 1400m.
“Obviously you’ve got to hold your breath a little bit with Helmet that he behaves and does the right thing at the barriers,” he said.
“But we know he’s got plenty of ability. Pete has got him in the best form that he can, he still retains all his ability so we just need to get him to do it properly and that’s my job when the barriers open.”
Helmet has drawn barrier six in the field reduced to 11 runners following the scratching of Sabrage.
“We just need him to begin well at Caulfield and we’ve drawn a nice marble to be able to just get into a nice spot where he will enjoy his racing,” McEvoy said.
“It will be his first run at Caulfield and we’re just hoping for a good start and then we can ride him to suit the horse.”
Helmet was favourite for the Group Two Sires’ Produce Stakes at Flemington last autumn but was withdrawn after playing up at the barrier.
He then returned to Sydney and remained unbeaten in four starts that preparation, winning the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes and the Champagne Stakes.
McEvoy said the colt wasn’t suited by the slow pace when third to Manawanui and Smart Missile in the Group One Golden Rose at his latest appearance.
“He’s come out of his run in the Golden Rose well, which was a disappointing race overall because it was a slowly-run race and didn’t suit our horse missing the start,” he said.
“The blinkers are off and winkers are back on. He’s done well since the race, he’s had some barrier practice and done a bit of jumping to freshen him up and he’s in good spirits.”
Helmet has eased from $2.50 but holds favouritism at $2.90 with TAB Sportsbet ahead of Golden Archer, who has firmed from $5.50 to $3.70, Chase The Rainbow at $6.50 and That’s The One at $9.