Safeguard was well regarded by Peter Snowden and the Darley team and at one stage he was their Golden Slipper team favourite, but a virus put paid to those plans. With patience Snowden waited until Saturday and he was rewarded when the Exceed And Excel colt impressively won the $125,000, Group 3 Ticketek Stakes (1100m) at Royal Randwick.
Safeguard getting the better of Everage, picture sportpix.com.au
The race, the Kindergarten Stakes, was the first for Australian Derby Day and the opening of The Theatre Of The Horse parade ring at the rear of the redeveloped grandstand.
Safeguard is closely related to Darley’s young sire Denman so he has big shoulders to stand alongside, but his performance on Saturday shows he is definitely on the way.
A wide barrier of eight draw of eight had Kerrin McEvoy easing Safeguard back to second last while Il Cavallo and Luke Nolan battled for the lead with Divine Calling and Nash Rawiller with Iconic and James McDonald three wide.
At the top of the main straight McEvoy was watching the field ahead with Safeguard idling along under him. He went to the rails to catch up and then with 200m to travel he eased Safeguard three wide for his run.
Il Cavallo, the $1.80 favourite, faded quickly leaving Everage and Nathan Berry to come through and go away for a lead. McEvoy though sent Safeguard away after Everage and it was only a matter of time before they overtook the filly in front.
With 25m to run Safeguard had the race in the bank and although he ran greenly and wide he went away for a 1L winning margin over Everage (Zizou) with Diamond Oasis (Lonhro) and McDonald third, the margin 2 1/4L.
The time was 1.04.57 on the Dead 5 track with the final 600m in 36.38. Safeguard paid $3.30 on NSW TAB.
“He is very well bred being a close relation to Denman and it is a great family. He has good ability and we saw a bit of it in November and he bet a fairly solid lot of horses,” said Snowden.
“He gave them a start which was not the way he wanted to ride him but Kerrin used his initiative and he went back. It was a foreign spot for him as he has never being that fair back and it was a bit new but that will be good for him and he will learn from that.
“It was a new experience for him. As you can see he is still a green horse. I will need to talk to the team and more than likely he will have a break now. We are looking to the Coolmore and further now,” he said.
“We planned to go forward in the first couple, but it just worked out that I was going to have to do too much work and it paid off in the end for me,” said McEvoy.
“The horses I was following were not taking me anywhere so I ducked back inside to get on Everage’s back and he took me into the race. It was a nice win in the end and there are more things to come from this horse,” he said.
Safeguard, picture sportpix.com.au
Safeguard, out of the Canny Lad mare Preserve, commenced his short career to-date at Flemington on December 22nd with a length win and he will spell with the two wins from two starts and stakes of $123,000.
Race 1, photofinish picture ATC