The last race before the Doomben 10,000 takes centre stage in Brisbane today has seen the Chris Waller-trained New Zealand import Vilanova win the Grand Prix Stakes 2014 to earn likely Queensland Derby favouritism.
Before today’s $150,000 Group 3 Mullins Lawyers Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) result it was New Zealand mare Telepathic leading the futures odds for the $500,000 Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m), running at Eagle Farm on June 7 for Stradbroke Day.
The Donna Logan-trained filly had zero luck in today’s lead-up however, caught three deep throughout and unable to get into the mix after going forward early but eased out of the speed battle when Arki went up to lead.
Telepathic went back but was pinched for room and couldn’t get onto the straight.
Vilanova on the other hand was settled right back off the pace one of the last in the big 14-starter field before putting themselves into calculation at the top of the straight.
It was then that jockey Nash Rawiller saw them wake up and challenge, Vilanova appearing out of nowhere to charge down the leader Amexed who looked to have it in the bag before the back runner bolted away.
Commands gelding Vilanova won the Grand Prix running away by about four lengths, turning the tables on the local Tony Gollan-trained Amexed who was eventually forced out of the trifecta.
Last start Amexed won the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate (2000m) with Vilanova two and a half lengths away fourth that day.
But getting out over more distance proved an advantage for the Vilanova, Amexed having had the absolute gun run but still unable to hold off the winner in the closing stages.
Amexed cut through on the inside on the home straight and with 350m to go looked like getting the bikkies.
Vilanova stole the show though racing away over the final 200m after swooping on them around the corner so that nothing was going to catch them.
“A tremendous run,” Waller’s stable rep Peter Muscutt said after the win.
“Put it all together finally.”
On the line in second was then the Helen Page-trained Rudy ($6.50) who ran on well from Pinstripe Lane ($15) who came from a wide barrier in a photo.
A stewards’ protest however saw the minor placings altered, Pinstripe Lane rewarded second while Rudy was regulated to third.
Previously prepared by Jason Bridgman in New Zealand, Vilanvoa came to Australia as a two-year-old and was tipped for big things in their opening campaign during last year’s Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.
They had three runs here last year for two seconds and then a fourth in the Group 1 JJ Atkins (1600m).
Since then things have been very hit and miss however with the galloper failing to live up to their hype.
They’ve had just the one win down under in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley earlier this year, an effort they emulated again today ahead of the Derby which is on the agenda now for sure.
“Most certainly,” Muscutt said when asked about their chances of stretching out to the mile and a half of the Derby.
“The way he finished off today, well within his scope.”
Rawiller agreed and said they horse was starting to come up at the right time.
“Just hitting his straps at the right time this fellow,” he said.
“Chris has always felt he’s a genuine stayer.
“When they come to this carnival and win like that they usually hold their form in this good weather.
“He’s been a little bit hot and cold but he’s a lot stronger horse than the last time I rode him [at Randwick back in February].
“A class above those horses today.
“He travelled up to them and put the race beyond doubt at the 300 and held it pretty well right to the line which was the most impressive part.
“He was good today, he’s in a good zone at the moment.”
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2014 Grand Prix Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Doomben Race 7 – 24/05/2014
|1||1||VILANOVA (NZ)||Chris Waller||Nash Rawiller||–||14||57kg||$15|
|2||6||PINSTRIPE LANE (NZ)||Troy Corstens||Damien Oliver||3.5L||12||57kg||$16|
|3||2||RUDY||Helen Page||Hugh Bowman||3.6L||1||57kg||$6.50|
|4||4||AMEXED (NZ)||Tony Gollan||Michael Rodd||4L||3||57kg||$3.20F|
|5||14||TELEPATHIC (NZ)||Donna Logan||Mark Du Plessis||5.5L||13||55kg||$4|
|6||9||AUBERGE||John O’Shea||Kerrin McEvoy||5.7L||8||57kg||$11|
|7||11||ARKI||Kelly Doughty||Damian Browne||6.2L||11||57kg||$21|
|8||5||BRING BACK||Mark Ashby||Glen Boss||6.4L||2||57kg||$31|
|9||3||GLORIOUS LAD (NZ)||Shaune Ritchie||Tye Angland||7.4L||5||57kg||$10|
|10||15||ROSEY JOAN||David J Lawlor||Ric McMahon||8.7L||9||55kg||$81|
|11||10||METEOROLOGIST||Marcus Wilson||Jim Byrne||9.5L||6||57kg||$81|
|12||8||COLONEL CARRERA (NZ)||Graeme & Debbie Rogerson||Rory Hutchings||9.6L||7||57kg||$51|
|13||13||ROCK SCENT||Kelly Schweida||Michael Cahill||11.1L||10||57kg||$151|
|14||12||ALL HOST||Les Kelly||Patrick Holmes||29.1L||4||57kg||$151|
|–||7||TAKEWING||Jason Coyle||Timothy Bell||–||0||–||–|