Second pick for next month’s iconic Golden Slipper 2013, Villa Verde caught the eye at her home track at Bendigo on Wednesday morning in a promising jump-out ahead of the Shaun Dwyer-trained filly’s Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival return.
The striking grey daughter of Not A Single Doubt entered calculations for the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m), running at Rosehill on April 6, winning her first two career starts during the spring.
A successful debut in the Listed Inglis Debutants Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield in October where she defeated current Golden Slipper betting favourite Overreach by one and a quarter lengths was followed on Melbourne Cup Day when Villa Verde retained her undefeated status with a three length romp in the Listed 7News Plate (1000m) at Flemington overcoming barrier 13 of 14.
Spelled after her second black type Villa Verde showed she had lost none of her gleam when third in a hitout at Bendigo over 1000m when ridden by regular hoop Michael Rodd, the jockey pleased with her performance.
“She felt fantastic,” Rodd told Sky Sports Radio.
“I gave her an easy time. She was very good out of the barriers and settled about five lengths off the pace.
“I waited for them to straighten up, got her balanced and then gave her a squeeze and that electric turn of foot she showed in the spring she has still got.
“I think she has improved and she feels a lot stronger.
“She had a very good blow so there is still improvement there. She looks like she is on track.
“Shaun has brought her along nice and slow. After every gallop she has tightened up noticeably and we are very excited.”
The latest Golden Slipper odds are led by the Gai Waterhouse-trained Exceed And Excel filly Overreach who returned off a four month spell on February 16 to blitz her rivals by six lengths in the Listed Widden Stakes (1100m) at Rosehill.
Villa Verde meanwhile remains the $8 second favourite, a price that is sure to firm if she manages a successful return to racing in the $300,000 Group 2 Reisling Stakes (1200m) on March 23, a race Rodd believes she can definitely win despite it being her first official start in Sydney.
“I’ve been up here twice before that (trial today) and galloped her the Sydney way of going and she has handled it very easily,” Rodd said.
“She is very mature, very professional.
“She does everything right, she is very quiet so getting her around the Sydney way of going I wouldn’t think would be too much of a problem.
“It is fantastic the progress she has shown in a short amount of time.”
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