Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller prepares a double pronged attack on the 2013 Villiers Stakes this Saturday and it is early market mover Said Com he is tipping out of his duo as the best chance.
Waller won the 2008 Villiers Stakes with Honor In War who defeated multiple, international Group 1 winning champion Takeover Target on protest after the rescheduled event, post-equine influenza, was held over a shortened distance of 1400m.
Traditionally run over the mile on the course proper at Randwick, this year’s $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes will again be run over amended distance as it runs on the Kensington track over 1550m.
Waller is hoping the distance decrease will work in his horses’ favour the way it did five years ago.
Villiers Stakes betting is a tight affair with all but two in the field at $19 or under to win.
Of Waller’s two it is Said Com who is shortest in the markets at a firming $10, the O’Reilly five-year-old after their first win since June.
A Group 1 runner-up behind Mosheen in the 2012 Randwick Guineas during their three-year-old season, Said Com is notoriously hit and miss in their track performances.
Their latest start was a fifth behind White Sage in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m), the traditional Villiers Stakes lead-up producing the past two winners.
It’s an effort their trainer is hoping they’ll improve on when they drop a kilo to 55.5kg with Hugh Bowman to ride from a nice barrier two draw.
The weights and distance are both in Said Com’s favour with Waller still skeptical over their form at a mile plus.
“With the weights I’d be leaning to Said Com,” he told AAP when asked which of the two he preferred.
“I don’t know if he is a genuine miler so it is a bit of a relief to see the race back to 1550 metres.
“He’s had the right preparation, he’s well weighted and he’s well drawn so there will be no excuses on Saturday.”
Coup Ay Tee meanwhile may have plenty of class but they must carry the equal 59kg topweight in the Villiers along with the resuming Gai Waterhouse-trained Western Symbol who returns for a 14 month long, injury enforced break.
“He’s done enough work for a mile first-up and he has been hitting the line well in his trials,” Tulloch Lodge spokesman Mark Newnham said of seven-year-old Western Symbol whose last start was a third at Randwick in October 2012.
As for Waller’s Danske six-year-old, Coup Ay Tee comes off a Riccarton Park run in New Zealand when a disappointing sixth to Scapolo in the Group 2 Coupland’s Bakeries Mile (1600m).
It was a failed trip and one that Waller hopes the Hawkesbury Gold Cup winner can recover from when they race at home in Sydney again, but with the weight he’s just not sure how they’ll go.
“He was also top weight there (in New Zealand) against Group One winners so he’s paying the price for consistency,” Waller said.
“There are other horses as good as him in the race (on Saturday) but they are still getting to the top whereas he’s already there.
“Therefore they have got a weight relief and that’s how handicapping works.”
The top fancies in the Villiers Stakes odds meanwhile are Goulburn Cup runner-up Taxmeifyoucan at $6 and Sysmo who won the Seymour Cup over the mile in October paying $6.50.
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