A bigger, stronger Safeguard will step out at Caulfield on Saturday in an early season chance to announce himself as a sprinting three-year-old to be reckoned with this spring.
The Peter Snowden-trained Safeguard won his only two starts during his juvenile season and is scheduled to resume in the Group Three Vain Stakes (1100m).
Paul Snowden, Melbourne stable foreman for his father, said the colt had developed and done everything right leading up to his race return.
“He’s a different horse,” Snowden said.
“He’s bigger, stronger, just a completely different animal. And all the better for it, hopefully.”
A winner at Flemington on debut last December, Safeguard was being prepared earlier this year with the Golden Slipper in mind but an elevated temperature forced those plans to be shelved.
The colt salvaged something from the autumn when he highlighted his potential with an impressive win in the Group Three Kindergarten Stakes (1100m) in April, a week after the Golden Slipper.
Safeguard is likely to meet a strong field in the Vain Stakes including first-up winner Clevadude and the David Hayes-trained Fast ‘n’ Rocking.
Safeguard missed a scheduled hitout when barrier trials at Cranbourne were washed out last Monday and instead had a jump-out at Flemington on Friday.
He went around in the same heat as Atlantic Jewel and Commanding Jewel, finishing second in a leisurely workout in wet conditions.
“He’s done everything right,” Snowden said.
“It’s a kick-off point for him, and the races get harder. But he’s certainly a talented horse.”
Safeguard is set to campaign exclusively in Melbourne this spring and Snowden said they would know more about his goals after Saturday.
“We’ll measure him again after the Vain and we will know a bit more after that,” he said.
“We just want to kick him off and get him going again.”
Darley’s No.1 jockey Kerrin McEvoy, who rode Safeguard in the Kindergarten, will be in Melbourne to take the ride on Saturday.