Following a reasonable delay to the start of the Group 2 race for colts and geldings, Gai Waterhouse-trained Valentia has claimed the 2014 Skyline Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick this afternoon.
Having lined up for race number 1 at Randwick on perfect time, leading contender Time For War, who had firmed nearly $5 in the final moments of betting, was unsettled immediately after loading into the barriers and was scratched after turning over in the stalls and breaking free down the straight.
Jumping from the gates only fairly, Valentia settled just behind market leaders Giuliani and Gold Force over the back straight and rounding the bend, easily taking the lead and maintaining a strong sprint in the final 200 to beat rank outsider Mr Bogart and Modoc to the line.
General Manager of Coolmore Australia, Michael Kirwan was pleased with the third-up career start from the talented Fastnet Rock colt, particularly after the less-than-ideal start to today’s Group 2.
“Very good win, a top win; he probably idled a little bit in the front 100 metres outs, but Tommy (Berry) kept him going” Kirwan said immediately after the Skyline Stakes.
“All he could do is win. It was a good result, we were happy with that.
“It’s good these expensive horses are able to win and he showed plenty today.”
Having been included in nominations for the Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m) and Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) in early April, Kirwan revealed any path is still possible for Valentia this preparation, and a final decision will be made over the coming week.
“He’s a Group 2 winning two-year-old now, so it’s all in the hands of the god now to see what happens with him from here on in” he added.
“Everything is a possibility; let’s just wait and see how he pulls up and we’ll go from there.”
Valentia’s victory in today’s Skyline Stakes is set to cause ripples in betting markets for both the Golden Slipper and Sires’ Produce Stakes.
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2014 Skyline Stakes Results
|1||3||VALENTIA||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||–||5||55.5kg||$4.20|
|2||8||MR BOGART||Anthony Cummings||Damien Oliver||0.5L||1||55.5kg||$26|
|3||2||MODOC||Paul Perry||Blake Shinn||1L||7||55.5kg||$12|
|4||5||GIULIANI||Gai Waterhouse||Tim Clark||3L||6||55.5kg||$4|
|5||7||REMBRANDT||Clarry Conners||Brenton Avdulla||3.8L||2||55.5kg||$81|
|6||1||GOLD FORCE||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||James McDonald||8.3L||3||55.5kg||$2.40F|
|7||6||ZIZUMBA||Anthony Cummings||Hugh Bowman||23.3L||4||55.5kg||$8.50|