Randwick-based trainer Ron Quinton’s prayers for a favourable Villiers Stakes 2011 barrier draw for his hopeful Monton have not been answered, the last-start stakes winner coming up with the horror gate 18 of 19.
Last seen running away to win the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on December 3 after getting the run on the rails from barrier one, Catbird five-year-old Monton is one of a capacity 16 starters plus three emergencies accepted for the $175,000 Group 2 Inglis Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm this Saturday.
Quinton was confident that Monton could handle any weather in their attempt to secure back-to-back stakes wins, but how they will feel after the disastrous gate is another story.
The odds are stacking up against the gallant gelding who must now overcome a double-digit draw and 58kg equal topweight as they step up to the mile for the first time.
“I’d love him to draw well and get a similar run as he did when he won the Festival Stakes last start,” Quinton said earlier.
If the three emergencies don’t get a run Monton will come into gate 15.
The other 58kg Villiers Stakes topweight for Saturday, Gai Waterhouse’s Group 2 winner King Lionheart fared far better coming up with barrier two.
Waterhouse’s other hopeful Kontiki Park, however, will be joining Monton out wide drawing gate 16.
Other early favourites drawing worse than midfield include John O’Shea’s Festival Stakes runner-up Lightinthenite (barrier 10), the Jim & Greg Lee-trained last-start Listed Frank Underwood Cup winner Zara Dancer (barrier 12) and Festival Stakes third placegetter Viva Lass (barrier 19).
Meanwhile, big winners in the Villiers Stakes barrier draw included the Mark Kavanagh-trained Shadowfax (barrier nine) and New Day Rising (barrier eight), due to be ridden by father and son jockeys Glyn and Chad Schofield respectively.
Gary Portelli’s locally-trained Fastnet Rock five-year-old New Day Rising earned a shot at Villiers Stakes glory after winning the Rosehill Welter Handicap (1400m) last Saturday, the horse formerly prepared by Gai Waterhouse.
Apprentice hoop Chad Schofield was aboard for that win and retains the ride on Saturday.
“It was a ride beyond his years,” Portelli said of 17-year-old Schofield’s performance with New Day Rising last start.
“Why would they (the connections) take him off?
“No-one could have ridden him any better.”
Young Schofield is admittedly excited to have a ride in the Villiers, which will be their first in a Group 2 rated race.
“It’ll be my first ride in a Group 2 race,” he said.
“A big thrill and he (New Day Rising) has such a good chance of winning with no weight (53kg).”
Local horseman Guy Walter is sure to be disappointed after his Villiers Stakes acceptor Straight Albert, last seen winning the Goulburn Cup on November 18, was regulated to third emergency drawing barrier seven.
The first two emergency runners are the Con Karakatsanis-trained My Destiny (barrier six) and John Marzon’s Code Word (barrier three).
If just one of the 16-starters withdraws, My Destiny will come into the field giving the in-form Stratum four-year-old their chance to score their fourth straight win.
See below for the full 2011 Villiers Stakes field, barriers, weights and jockeys.
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2011 Villiers Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Warwick Farm Race 6 – 17/12/2011
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||2210X110X7||KING LIONHEART||Gai Waterhouse||Nash Rawiller||2||58kg||100|
|2||18860X3951||MONTON||Ron Quinton||Hugh Bowman||18||58kg||100|
|3||32X4110X42||SHADOWFAX (NZ)||Mark Kavanagh||Glyn Schofield||9||55kg||94|
|4||424880X486||ALTERED BOY||Chris Waller||Danny Nikolic||15||54.5kg||93|
|5||23484422X0||ALEXANDER OF HALES (USA)||Chris Waller||Peter Robl||17||54kg||92|
|6||41121X2470||EREWHON||Peter Snowden||Tommy Berry||11||54kg||92|
|7||40X3756441||ZARA DANCER (NZ)||Jim & Greg Lee||Adam Hyeronimus (a)||12||54kg||92|
|8||12288X0421||NEW DAY RISING||Gary Portelli||Chad Schofield (a)||8||53kg||90|
|10||3522419X35||FIBRILLATION||Tim Martin||Corey Brown||13||52kg||92|
|11||006X343250||MISS KEEPSAKE (NZ)||Joseph Pride||Josh Adams (a)||14||52kg||91|
|12||X82220X103||KONTIKI PARK (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Brenton Avdulla||16||52kg||88|
|13||0160X82X00||TINDAL||Wendy Roche||Sam Clipperton (a)||4||52kg||86|
|14||11X16312||LIGHTINTHENITE||John O’Shea||Christian Reith||10||52kg||85|
|15||X779X64613||VIVA LAS||Neville & Christopher Voigt||Daniel Ganderton||19||52kg||85|
|16||1242X5X448||WITHOUT COMPROMISE||Kevin Moses||–||1||52kg||84|
|17e||2103X62111||MY DESTINY||Con Karakatsanis||Jay Ford||6||52kg||83|
|18e||1311244X87||CODE WORD||John Marzol||Nathan Berry||3||52kg||81|
|19e||010382X231||STRAIGHT ALBERT||Guy Walter||Ms Kathy O’Hara||7||52kg||80|