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Sam Kavanagh’s last start Recognition Stakes winner Absalon may have come up with an awkward barrier for their Sydney assignment this weekend but their trainer has confirmed they will press on and run in the Villiers Stakes 2013.
Heading the action at Randwick’s Kensington track on Saturday, the field for this year’s $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1550m) has been capped at 14 starters.
One of the widest drawn in the capacity field in gate 12 is Kavanagh’s in-form Mossman gelding Absalon.
Formerly prepared in Queensland by Jason McLachlan, the now five-year-old has been with Kavanagh racing firstly in Adelaide then Sydney since the start of this year.
They step up in class for their Villiers Stakes bid not having started in Group company since September of 2011.
Absalon however has earned the assignment after winning their past two on the trot.
The first was a narrow effort after a luckless run at Randwick over 1400m on November 9.
Brisbane was next and they relished a Heavy (8) Doomben track to put one and a quarter lengths on Fillydelphia to win the Listed Recognition Stakes (1600m).
They see a similar distance on Saturday, and there’s rain around in Sydney too so they could advantage form a soft track again.
Getting on in the 53kg minimum, a kilo less than their Recognition Stakes winning weight, is another plus with the wide draw seemingly the only con.
“If he drew a gate in the Villiers I would be confident he could get into the money but the wide gate concerns me a bit,” Kavanagh admitted to AAP.
Kavanagh however hopes that they will have enough gate speed to get across in a handy position early and overcome the double digit draw.
“Apart from Listen Son there doesn’t look to be a lot of speed in the Villiers and I’m hoping he can get across without doing too much work,” Kavanagh said.
And if anyone will know how to read the Villiers Stakes field it is Kavanagh who likes to understand exactly what his horses are coming up against in a race.
“I don’t have a lot of horses in my stable and I’ve got to make sure they are competitive wherever they run so I do a lot of work on form and try to understand my opposition,” the devout form reader said.
“I find it makes a difference, not only in being able to place your horses but also in helping to explain the race to your clients and they like the fact they know you are putting in that extra effort for them.”
The bookies aren’t really rating Kavanagh’s hope however and have Absalon paying around $19 in the latest Villiers Stakes odds.
It’s a nice price in a field featuring 11 other runners under $20, an open market led by progressive four-year-old Taxmeifyoucan ($6).
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