In The Vanguard on Golden Slipper 2016 trail

John Sargent will find himself in unfamiliar territory in the countdown to next month’s Golden Slipper.

For the first time since moving his training operation to Sydney from New Zealand in 2012, Sargent has a realistic shot at getting a horse into the world’s richest two-year-old race.

The trainer’s chance comes courtesy of In The Vanguard, an all-the-way winner on debut in the Schweppes Plate (1100m) at Canterbury on Wednesday.

It heralded a landmark win for Sargent who has managed to survive in the cut-throat business of Sydney horse racing with success in Australia’s best-known distance Classics.

“This would be my first two-year-old winner in the city since I’ve been here,” Sargent said.

Sargent has few peers when it comes to training stayers with Kirramosa and Gust Of Wind leading the way for the stable after wins in the VRC Oaks and ATC Australian Oaks respectively.

But at this time of the year Sydney racing is traditionally all about getting results with two-year-olds and the trainer is happy to be part of the hustle and bustle of juvenile scene.

In The Vanguard showed the most speed from the barrier for Brenton Avdulla to beat the Chris Waller-trained Earth by 2-1/2 lengths.

“I said before the race that if she steps out of the gate she would be hard to beat,” Sargent said.

Sargent says he can’t find a reason why high-profile owner Sir Owen Glenn should not chase the Golden Slipper’s pot of gold.

“At this time of the year with the Golden Slipper only six weeks away we can only put her up against the good ones and see what happens,” he said.

“She seems to be on the way up because she is a good doer so hopefully she can come through this and we’ll look for a race in two to three weeks time.”

In The Vanguard provided Avdulla with an early Canterbury double after he brought Hembrook from well back with an inside run to win the Ranvet Maiden Handicap.


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