Trainer Peter Snowden is hoping Golden Slipper disappointment in the autumn can turn to spring carnival glory for talented 3-year-old Epaulette.
Epaulette makes his return against a small but stellar cast in the Run To The Rose (1200m) at Rosehill today and will follow a path trekked by his three-quarter brother Helmet, who claimed the Caulfield Guineas last spring.
Waiting today will be unbeaten colt Pierro and the highly rated All Too Hard.
A Black Opal Stakes winner in the autumn, Epaulette came closest of any horse so far to downing Pierro when the subsequent triple crown winner fought back to beat him in the Todman Stakes by a short half head.
Snowden felt Epaulette was "building to run really well in the Golden Slipper" but the colt's campaign ended on a sour note when he came in at the tail of the field.
Snowden said nothing went right for Epaulette on the day after he was slowly out and then hit the rail after being tightened.
"It was disappointing to see where he finished because you know how much ability the horse has," Snowden said. "But look, we'll make up for it this time through I hope. And, hopefully, we can get a good race underneath us."
Epaulette enters the spring fold as the Darley team's leading prospect.
"I think he's our most talented horse," Snowden said.
Epaulette is on the third line of Run To The Rose betting and will carry 2.5kg less than Pierro and 1.5kg less than All Too Hard.