Connections of Arena gelding Circle Of Power are looking at the Villiers Stakes 2012 as their next major target after the five-year-old scored a nice win over the Warwick Farm mile at their home track on the weekend.
Breaking a winning drought of over 16 months, on Saturday Circle Of Power ($16) was able to beat home a decent field including runner-up Too Hi Tek ($26) by half a length in the $85,000 Pro-Ride Handicap (1600m) with the Bart Cummings-trained Mr Edison ($10) a long neck away further back in third.
It was a tense few minutes post-race for their local Warwick Farm based trainer Rod Craig with Circle Of Power having to survive a protest from third placegetter Mr Edison’s jockey Blake Shinn before the win, and the $48,750 first prize, was safely theirs.
And it was also a nice surprise to see them secure the victory after they looked tense pre-race.
“He looked terrible in the stalls,” Craig said on Saturday.
“He was sweating so badly and we had to give him a hose down before bringing him out here.
“It has taken us a while to get him right with a Norton bit.”
While Circle Of Power has only ever contested three Group races and two Listed features in their 40 start career, the most recent of which was their eighth in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes at Randwick in April last year, Craig is considering the $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) back at Warwick Farm Racecourse on December 22.
“We could look at the Villiers now,” he said.
Another horse eyeing off the Villiers Stakes prize this year is then Peter Moody’s gallant seven-year-old Shout Out Loud after their brave second-up win in the Victoria Cup (1440m) at Caulfield on the weekend.
Stay up-to-date with all the latest 2012 Villiers Stakes news right here at Races.com.au.
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