Trainer Peter Snowden has declared champion three-year-old Sepoy “in the zone” for the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington on Derby Day after a dominant win against older horses in the Caulfield Sprint.
Sepoy made it nine wins from 10 starts in Saturday’s 1100-metre Group Two feature and controlled the race from start to finish with jockey Kerrin McEvoy likening the effort to a barrier trial for the colt.
Snowden was blown away by the winning time of 1:03.11 but Sepoy could have gone faster as McEvoy didn’t push the $1.22 favourite out to the line to win by 1-1/4 lengths from Peter Moody-trained stablemates Curtana ($21) and Mid Summer Music ($12).
“That is an absolutely outstanding time,” Snowden said.
“He’s a very, very special horse.”
“What he’s done hasn’t been done by very many horses, only champion horses and he’s one of them.
“I am pretty hard who I claim is special and this fellow is still learning his trade.”
Snowden acknowledged there was a lot of hype about a clash with unbeaten champion Black Caviar but he said Sepoy needed more time to reach her class.
“To me he is 12 months away from looking at a race like that,” Snowden said.
“He is getting better. He’s learning more and more about what’s he’s got to do.”
Snowden confirmed the Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) as Sepoy’s next assignment.
Black Caviar will try for her 15th win a week later in the Group One Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington.
Sepoy is the third three-year-old to win the Caulfield Sprint and carried 55.5kg, three kilos more than Campaign King in 1985.
Jet Spur was the other three-year-old winner with 52kg in 2005.
Snowden said Sepoy had peaked this campaign.
“He is in the zone now and it is my job to keep him there for two more weeks,” Snowden said.
McEvoy said Sepoy was a neck slow from the gates but it was not a concern.
“He’s not the flashest beginner as we have all seen and if the grey horse (Platinum Skye) was going to cruise across I wanted to be in a spot where I could pop off and that is how it worked out,” McEvoy said.
He said Sepoy was fresher than last start when he won the Group One Manikato Stakes but he switched off well.
“He is very professional and just does it all,” McEvoy said.
Sepoy coasted to the lead halfway up the straight and while McEvoy could hear Curtana and Mid Summer Music closing he always had them covered.
“Today was like a barrier trial I suppose,” McEvoy said.
“I didn’t really raise a sweat and neither did he.”