Ron Quinton’s defending champion Monton tops the Villiers Stakes 2012 nominations and weights for the Sydney Summer Carnival feature taking place at Warwick Farm Racecourse this Saturday.
Twelve months ago Catbird gelding Monton took out the $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) on the back of a win in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) two weeks earlier at Rosehill.
Not having won a race since the now six-year-old will shoot for successive Villiers Stakes victories this weekend, the galloper having run a credible second to Malavio when defending their title in the Festival Stakes last time out.
As in the Festival, on Saturday Monton is allocated the 59kg top-weight of the 21 Villiers Stakes nominations and will again be ridden by apprentice hoop Sam Clipperton.
“The owners and myself are very supportive of Sam, he rode him very well in the Festival and we’re happy to give him the opportunity,” Quinton said of the 18-year-old jockey.
“He’s taken another step in his ability and he is deserving of a chance on the horse.”
Other highly-rated hopefuls then include Chris Waller’s Group winner Triple Elegance (57kg) out to improve on their ninth in the Festival Stakes, and the Gai Waterhouse-trained Kinnersley (56.5kg) coming off a second-up win in the Goulburn Cup (1600m) back in late November.
Kinnersley is one of five last start winners nominated for the Villiers Stakes this year along with Circle Of Power, the John Sargent-trained visiting Kiwi mare Holy Moly, Wong galloper San Zaim coming off a 6.5 length win in the Mudgee Cup and Peter Moody’s seven-year-old Shout Out Loud.
Also in the mix are the likes of Matthew Smith’s recent Summond Stakes winning mare Cabernet, the Bede Murray-trained Hawkesbury Gold Cup winner Darci Be Good and three from the stables of Peter Snowden.
Snowden’s Villiers Stakes nominees are Lonhro mare Quidnunc coming off a close fourth in the Festival Stakes, Commands mare Classics who could only manage to finish 11th in the same race and Festival Stakes third placed Galah who is considered his best chance.
“They have all done well since and will be there in the Villiers,” Snowden said.
See below for the full 2012 Villiers Stakes nominations and weights with the final field and barrier draw due for release on Wednesday.
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2012 Villiers Stakes Nominations, Ballot & Weights
Warwick Farm Racecourse – 22/12/2012
|2||TRIPLE ELEGANCE||Chris Waller||2=||57kg||100|
|5||DARCI BE GOOD (NZ)||Bede Murray||5=||54.5kg||95|
|6||SHOUT OUT LOUD||Peter G Moody||5=||54.5kg||95|
|7||THUMBTACKS (NZ)||Chris Waller||8||54kg||94|
|8||ALL LEGAL||Kevin Moses||9=||53.5kg||93|
|10||HIGHLY RECOMMENDED||Peter G Moody||9=||53.5kg||93|
|11||AL’S GOLD||Mick Hood||21||53kg||78|
|12||ALMA’S FURY||Paul Murray||15=||53kg||88|
|13||CIRCLE OF POWER||Rod Craig||20||53kg||80|
|15||HOLY MOLY (NZ)||John Sargent||18||53kg||82|
|16||ISOPACH||John P Thompson||13=||53kg||91|
|17||MERLIN MUSTANG||Michael Tubman||17||53kg||85|
|19||RACING HEART||Joseph Pride||15=||53kg||88|
|20||SAN ZAIM||Tracey Bartley||19||53kg||81|
|21||SHADOWS IN THE SUN||Anthony Cummings||13=||53kg||91|