While the major 2013 Villiers Stakes lead-up is the $100,000 Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens this Saturday, Warwick Farm horseman David Vandyke will attempt to sneak his mare Fulminate into the mix via a lesser known race.
The four-year-old daughter of Encosta De Lago misses the 2013 Festival Stakes on the weekend and instead runs in the third race at the meeting, the $85,000 Blackwoods Apex Tools Handicap (1400m).
Fulminate is one of 10 fillies and mares engaged in the Benchmark 80 race which is a much easier assignment than the Festival Stakes.
She’s considered one of the top chances too paying $6 to win in markets led by the rails drawn La Pieta ($4).
She’s vying for her third win from four starts for Vandyke having previously been prepared by Graeme Rogerson.
Jockey Kathy O’Hara will be in the saddle again having ridden them for their past three starts including their Randwick victory over 1500m on November 9.
It was a protest win that day after Fulminate was hampered near the 200m mark and the places were reversed by stewards.
On Saturday however Vandkye is hoping she’ll be first past the post.
“That was a tough effort and even though she didn’t have a lot of room she fought right to the line,” he told The Sydney Morning Herald.
If Fulminate wins and wins well this weekend there’s a chance she’ll be stepped up to Group company for the first time in the popular Sydney summer showdown, the $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on December 14.
“The idea is to try and get her to the Villiers but given her rating it would mean winning on Saturday,” Vandyke said of the mare whose current rating is 74.
Another Rosehill runner on Saturday who remains a Villiers Stakes 2013 chance should they succeed in one of the support races is the Chris Waller-trained Specific Choice.
Prepared by one of the best in the business the Lonhro four-year-old hasn’t won a race since their Inglis Bonus win over the 1500m at Rosehill last November.
They’re looking to change that in the $85,000 Blackwoods Bosch Handicap (Race 5) at the same track and distance on Saturday however.
Last start they over raced with the blinkers on running third in a benchmark 80 here on November 16 when ridden by Christian Reith.
New father Hugh Bowman jumps aboard for their latest run where they are likely to be ridden more conservatively from barrier nine of 15.
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