Cameron Larkin .com

Helmet wins the champions race

The money came before the race and the punters were spot on.

Helmet engraved his name onto the Caulfield Guineas trophy honour roll alongside Vain, Surround, Mahogany, Tulloch, Ajax, Manikato, Redoute’s Choice and Lonhro amid others.

The Exceed And Excel three-year old colt took his race record to 9-6-0-3 with a strong win in the event renowned for turning out champions of the turf and future leading stallions.

The talk on track was all for Helmet, Smart Missile with mentions for Rick Hore-Lacy’s Chase The Rainbow. The forgotten runner was the gelding in the number one saddlecloth, Manawanui.

Unlike previous times, Smart Missile went into the barriers without hesitation, and then Corey Brown climbed aboard.

The jocks gave the all clear, the gates swung back with the guineas field jumped away evenly.

Helmet, the Mick Price Secret Hills and Manawanui went forward. Smart Missile got away well and sat fourth one of the fence.

The speed was fierce and the pressure was on. Helmet continued his surge forward and was out in front alone at the 600 with Manawanui stalking the chestnut colt.

Smart Missile, with Brown steering after Glen Boss was injured in a recent fall, sat in fourth spot and poised for a big run. The grey Dash For Cash colt rounded the field at the tail.

As they turned into the straight Helmet railed like a bunny at the greyhounds and kicked away. Manawanui started to surge and slowly got closer and closer to Helmet and Kerrin McEvoy.

McEvoy rode hard, Manawanui continue to come but it was Helmet who crossed the line by a head in race record time.

Post-race, McEvoy said that the team “wanted to go forward” and that the stunning colt with the white blaze has the “ability to cruise at good sectionals”. The international class jockey was happy down the side but had to start “getting into him at the 500” to wake him up.

McEvoy summed Helmet up as an “exception talent” who won the race “in fourth gear with more improvement to come. Further, the champion rider was very happy to win the guineas after a few near misses in previous cracks.

Asked about the Cox Plate (2040m), the Darley jockey remarked that the team would need to think about it, especially carrying only 49.5kgs. He added that a strict diet would be in place if Helmet runs in the race, commenting it would be “veggies all the way”.

Trainer Peter Snowden told the awaiting media that the “ticker was beating pretty hard” and that it was a “tremendous win”. Snowden wrapped up his comments in saying that Helmet was a strong front runner and “fought it out hard”.

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