Paul Snowden will be disappointed if Long John can’t turn the tables on boom New Zealand colt Cauthen at Flemington on Saturday.
Long John came from last to finish third to Cauthen and Shamus Award in the McKenzie Stakes at Moonee Valley first-up two weeks ago and all three meet again in the Listed Henry Bucks Stakes (1400m).
Snowden, Melbourne foreman for Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley operation, believes a wide barrier contributed to Long John losing his unbeaten record that day but is adamant he is capable of turning it around.
“If he didn’t I would be disappointed,” Snowden said.
Snowden said Long John had improved since his first-up showing and would be able to settle in the first six from a good draw.
The gelding won the Listed Anzac Day Stakes over 1400m at Flemington last preparation.
Stablemate San Diego, a Victoria Derby prospect, kicks off his campaign in the same race with Snowden hoping to see him running home strongly.
While Long John lost his unbeaten record last start, stablemate Safeguard will be out to keep his intact in the Group Two Danehill Stakes (1200m).
Safeguard narrowly defeated subsequent McNeil Stakes winner Fast `N’ Rocking in the Vain Stakes first-up – his third win from as many starts – but faces a tough field in Saturday’s straight-track sprint.
Snowden believes the winner of the Danehill Stakes can go on to claim a Group One this campaign, such is the strength of competition, and says Safeguard’s fitness levels have improved since his first-up win.
“He was well underdone first-up so to see him come out and win was great,” he said.
Craig Williams has the ride with stable jockey Kerrin McEvoy staying in Sydney to partner star filly Guelph in the Furious Stakes.
Williams got the chance to ride Safeguard in trackwork on Tuesday which Snowden said was important.
“I was very happy with what happened,” Snowden said.
“Safeguard worked with Long John, sat off him, and my main man rode Long John just to make sure the work was spot-on and it really was.
“I think Craig was rapt to get a feel of him before Saturday.”
Safeguard is being narrowly shaded for favouritism by in-form filly Gregers with Hill Spy on the third line of betting.