Tony Nicconi will progress to the 2018 McNeil Stakes in a fortnight after he made it two wins from as many starts with a tough victory in the Vain Stakes at Caulfield this afternoon.

Tony Nicconi recorded a tough win in the Vain Stakes. Photo by: Ultimate Racing Photos

Tony Nicconi recorded a tough win in the Vain Stakes. Photo by: Ultimate Racing Photos

Luke Nolen was happy to settle Tony Nicconi outside of the leader Rock Hard in the early stages of this contest and he quickly picked up his rival when he was asked for an extra effort.

Stablemate Long Leaf savaged the line in the concluding stages and gave punters that took the short odds for Tony Nicconi a scare, but the talented colt was able to hold-on to record another smart win.

Co-trainer David Hayes was happy with the performance of Tony Nicconi and he argued that the win was more impressive than it looked to the naked eye.

Hayes confirmed that Tony Nicconi would have his next race start in the Group 3 McNeil Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield in a fortnight before he heads to races like the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) and the Group 2 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m).

“Tony Nicconi did it into that hard win and he had only gone in on one trial,” Hayes said.

“There is a lot left for him in the Spring.

“He will go the McNeil in a couple of weeks here at Caulfield and then the Danehill and the Coolmore.

Long Leaf savaged the line to finish second in his first appearance at the races this Spring and Hayes revealed that the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) would be the initial goal for the talented three-year-old.

“Long Leaf put his hand up for the Golden Rose.”

Long Leaf has been $61 into $16 in the Golden Rose Stakes betting market with Ladbrokes, while Toni Nicconi is $16 to win the Coolmore Stud Stakes.

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