After missing the ATC Cup due to a hoof abscess, the Tony McEvoy-trained Sysmo will line-up at Randwick’s Kensington track this Saturday running in the 2013 Villiers Stakes as a back-up plan.
Many of the gallopers nominated for this year’s $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes, run over a shorter 1550m due to the relocation from the course proper at Randwick after it failed to recover after a renovation, have been set for the Sydney summer showdown for months.
My Risk four-year-old Sysmo however only entered the equation after a setback saw them miss the $100,000 Listed ATC Cup (2000m) at Rosehill on November 30.
“He had some heat in a heel which developed into an abscess so we had to treat him,” McEvoy told AAP this week.
“We poulticed the abscess and it’s fine now.”
While the Villiers is a more prestigious race worth $75,000 extra in total prize money, the distance could be an issue for McEvoy’s Hawkesbury-based gelding.
After their nice recent form over a mile however McEvoy believes they are worthy of a shot, their first Group assignment since a close third to Quintessential in the Group 3 Chairman’s Handicap (2100m) in the wet at Eagle Farm back in May.
“I would have preferred to run on the bigger track and I also don’t think he will be seen at his best until he gets up to 2000 metres,” he said.
“But I do think he is worthy of taking his place and James McDonald will ride.”
This campaign they’ve had three starts finishing in the money each time.
First-up was a third in a Benchmark 90 over 1250m in Adelaide followed a fortnight later by their victory over Proverb in the Listed Seymour Cup (1600m) in October.
Their last start was at Flemington on Emirates Stakes Day, Sysmo far from disgraced when a length and a quarter away third to Post D’France in a mile race carrying 58kg.
They drop back to just 54kg on Saturday, the Villiers Stakes weights led by the Chris Waller-trained Coup Ay Tee and the returning Gai Waterhouse-trained Craven Plate runner-up Western Symbol both on 59kg.
The Group 2 event has also attracted entries from the likes of Waller’s stakes performer Said Com and in-form seven-year-old Listen Son for Queensland trainer Tony Gollan.
Sam Kavanagh meanwhile has two entries with Midsummer Sun last seen running fourth in the Sandown Classic and Absalon after their third win on the trot, as does Peter Snowden nominating for Imperil and Limes.
Vying for multiple Villiers Stakes trophies will then be the 2011 winner Monton, while Alma’s Fury will be looking to improve on her second to All Legal in the race 12 months ago.
If all goes well this summer McEvoy, who also trains out of South Australia, will set Sysmo for the $225,000 Group 3 Hobart Cup (2400m) in early February.
“As long as he goes well I’ll continue with him and look at the Hobart Cup in the New Year,” he said.
“Of course if he happened to win the Villiers (and earn an automatic entry into the 2014 Doncaster Mile) that would change a lot of things.”
The 2013 Villiers Stakes final field is due out on Wednesday and will be published right here at Races.com.au along with the barriers.
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