Safeguard got the better of Il Cavallo in their only clash to date but trainer Peter Moody hopes that changes when they meet again in an intriguing Vain Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Il Cavallo and the Peter Snowden-trained Safeguard form part of a highly-competitive Group Three Vain Stakes (1100m) field with both colts resuming for the first time since the Kindergarten Stakes at Randwick in April.
On that occasion Safeguard weaved his way through from back in the field to score an impressive win, while Il Cavallo faded in the straight to be beaten more than eight lengths as the $2 favourite.
Il Cavallo pulled up from the race with a throat infection and was sent for a spell.
Moody said Il Cavallo, who broke a track record when he won over 900m at Sandown on debut, had come back well.
“I’m pleased with him. He’s in good shape. He’s taking on a hot field but I expect him to run well,” Moody said.
“He seems to have come back well. He’s a stronger and more mature horse.”
Moody believes Il Cavallo is a sprinter so the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) during the Melbourne Cup carnival looks a logical target for him later in the spring.
“We hope he might measure up to that,” Moody said.
Safeguard holds favouritism at $2.90 for Saturday, ahead of Il Cavallo at $3.70 with debut winner Hill Spy at $5.50 and Blue Diamond runner-up Fast `n’ Rocking at $6.
Safeguard is also set to be kept to sprints this campaign.
Snowden reported the colt had done enough work for Saturday’s race but would derive improvement from the run.
“He’s fairly forward but he’s not fully screwed down for Saturday,” Snowden said.