Trainer Gregory Hickman says he has four-year-old Taxmeifyoucan as good as he can for their shot at a Doncaster Mile 2014 ballot exemption with a win in Saturday’s $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1550m) at Randwick’s Kensington track.
Earlier the Ad Valorem gelding was sitting top of the 2013 Villiers Stakes odds following two nice minor placings at their two most recent runs.
The price on Taxmeifyoucan to post their first win since the Scone Inglis 3YO Guineas back in May however has eased out from $6 to $7.
They now occupy the second line of Villiers Stakes betting trailing the Tony McEvoy-trained Seymour Cup winner Sysmo ($6.50).
Hickman’s runner meanwhile is set to appreciate a drop back from 57kg last start on November 24 to the 53kg minimum on Saturday with Tim Clark booked for the ride replacing Tommy Berry who is committed to ride the returning Gai Waterhouse-trained Western Symbol ($18).
Over the past two decades just six Villiers Stakes winners carried more than 54kg to victory, and only four of those had more than 54.5kg, good stats for Hickman’s lightweight.
“Hasn’t he been placed to perfection to get there,” Hickman said.
“In saying that, he has only ever won two races and he is up against a lot of well credentialled horses.
“But he is Group 2 placed (when third to Rebel Dane in the Royal Sovereign Stakes in February) and there are pretty handy form lines around him.”
Taxmeifyoucan has been in good form over the last month since returning home from a failed one run Melbourne raid.
Failing to handle a trip to Caulfield they ran dead last to Boban in the Group 3 Moonga Stakes (1400m) before bouncing back 14 days later with a close third at Rosehill behind Secessio on November 2.
A photo finish went against them in their latest run when they were found to have run second to Any Day Will Do in the Goulburn Cup (1600m).
This weekend Hickman is hoping for better luck as they shoot not only for bragging rights and the $105,000 winner’s cheque but also a ballot free ride into one of the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival’s premier races.
The Villiers Stakes winner gains automatic entry into the $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Royal Randwick on April 19, an opportunity Hickman just couldn’t pass up.
“He is as good as I can get him,” Hickman told AAP.
“He had to have a crack at this race in case he can get into the $3 million Doncaster.”
Helping him get there on Saturday is the fact the Villiers runs over 1550m at Kensington instead of the course proper over the mile, factors that ruled out some of the competition according to Hickman.
“It has probably improved them,” he said of the amendments and his horse’s chances.
“There are probably six runners who he won’t have to contend with now.”
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