Former hoop turned Randwick-based trainer Craig Carmody is seriously considering an eleventh hour run in the Villiers Stakes 2011 Saturday week for his improving High Chaparral four-year-old Single who caught the eye with an impressive first-up win at Rosehill over the weekend.
Single showed plenty of promise in their opening three career starts back in April and May, but finished their opening preparation on a low when eighth in the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm in June.
A lengthy break and plenty of patience and Single is shaping up as a serious off-season stakes contender having beaten a smart field in the Blackwoods Macnaught Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill’s Festival Stakes Day on Saturday.
While lightly-raced and very fresh being just one run into their second campaign, Carmody said that Single could contest the $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on December 17 having shown a brilliant turn of foot to easily account for his rivals first-up.
“We had planned to run him next in a benchmarck 80 race on Christmas Eve at Canterbury,” Carmody said.
“But after watching the horse win so well, I’ll sit down with the owners and discuss the Villiers.
“It might all be a bit rushed for the horse to go to a Villiers second-up but we will keep all our options open for now.”
The Villiers Stakes has the added appeal of offering a ballot exemption into the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick next April during the 2012 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival to the winner.
Nathan Berry had the ride on Single for the first time under race conditions on Saturday, and said that the horse had the ability but perhaps not the maturity for a successful Villiers Stakes assault.
“He would be up to that class,” Berry said.
“I just don’t know if he is mentally ready for that yet.
“It seems strange to say, but he may be another prep away.
“He’s got so much talent but he’s still learning how to race.
“There is a ton of improvement in him.”
The other major Villiers Stakes-bound winner at Rosehill over the weekend was the Ron Quinton-trained Monton who took out the day’s feature, the $100,000 Listed Festival Stakes (1500m).
A five-year-old son of Catbird, Monton held on in a gritty finish to put a half-length on Lightinthenite to win the Festival Stakes, the duo likely to clash again in the Villiers.
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