This Saturday Warwick Farm Racecourse will come to life with Villiers Stakes Day featuring a double shot of black type action, one of the meeting’s headline events being the 2011 Razor Sharp Handicap.
Supporting the Group 2 Villiers Stakes, the $100,000 Listed Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) is shaping up as a limited-number showdown having attracted 12 horses at nomination stage on Monday, a number of which are likely to withdraw with Wednesday’s acceptances.
The top-rated of the Razor Sharp entries this year is the Joe Pride-trained News Alert.
Last seen running a credible first-up fifth when beaten two and a half lengths by Group 1 winner Atomic Force at Canterbury on a Heavy (9) track back on November 26, the Danehill Dancer seven-year-old is tipped to improve second-up over the 1200 metres.
Pride boasts a stranglehold over the Razor Sharp with News Alert one of four stablemates nominated for the local Warwick Farm-based horseman.
His other chances are Dubawi four-year-old Tiger Tees, last-start Rosehill winner Recorrido and progressive Lion Heat mare Trilione.
Tiger Tees would have been the real danger here, the galloper defeated a nose by Atomic Force last start and sure to be fitter from the run, but with rain forcing them to miss a crucial barrier trial Pride has indicated they won’t be accepted.
“I did enter Tiger Tees for Saturday’s race just in case but I’m more than likely going to wait another week and run him at Canterbury on Christmas Eve,” Pride said.
“The fact that the trials have been put back to Thursday doesn’t really matter much for Tiger Tees’ preparation.”
With Trilione also a likely non-acceptor, Pride will rely on Rubiton mare Recorrido and his old veteran News Alert.
“I’m surprised at the lack of numbers in the race but I’ll probably run Recorrido and News Alert,” Pride said.
“Trillone’s a maybe at this stage but I’ll be interested to see how she fares when the weights are released.”
Ace Sydney trainer Peter Snowden also boasts multiple Razor Sharp Handicap entries with Rarefied and Lonhro five-year-old Parthian.
Classy Commands gelding Rarefied was last seen finishing a length away second to Ortensia in the Group 1 Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot on November 19, prior to which they recorded two other close second place finishes at stakes level.
Other notable Razor Sharp Handicap 2011 nominations include the Mark Kavanagh-trained Victoria Cup runner-up Catapulted to be ridden by Glyn Schofield, Paul Perry’s consistent Stratum gelding Stratana and Second Effort.
The Clinton McDonald-trained Mossman five-year-old Second Effort will be especially suited to the conditions in Sydney should the wet weather continue.
“At the very least I’ll accept and I won’t be unhappy if it keeps raining,” McDonald said.
“The wetter the better. He’s very good on wet tracks.”
The gelding was last seen finishing seventh to Mid Summer Music in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on July 30, before which they won four straight on tracks rated between a Slow (6) and Heavy (9).
“You’ll notice in his form he had about six weeks between runs going into the Bletchingly because of a couple of hiccups,” McDonald explained.
“There was nothing serious.”
Stay tuned to Races.com.au throughout the week to view all the latest Sydney summer racing news.
2011 Razor Sharp Handicap Nominations
|2||EIGHT BILLS||Gary Portelli|
|3||JEST CREWSIN’||Jan Bowen|
|4||NEWS ALERT||Joseph Pride|
|8||SECOND EFFORT||Clinton McDonald|
|10||TIGER TEES (NZ)||Joseph Pride|
|12||VIA DEL CORSO||Barry Baldwin|