2014 Villiers Stakes Hopefuls Tested at Kensington

Anthony Cummings currently has three hopefuls for the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Kensington on December 13, which may or may not decrease following a track meeting this Saturday.

Surge Ahead (outside) is one of three potential Villiers Stakes runners for trainer Anthony Cummings after being rested during the spring.

Surge Ahead (outside) is one of three potential Villiers Stakes runners for trainer Anthony Cummings after being rested during the spring. Photo by Race Horse Photos Australia.

The summer feature race is on the cards for last start winner Paris Match, Drago, and Surge Ahead. The three could find themselves 2014 Villiers Stakes rivals next month depending on how they perform in separate races at Randwick Racecourse this Saturday on the Kensington track.

“They’re all still in the mix,” Cummings told Sky Racing.

“We’ll sit down on Sunday morning, see what the hell happened and work it out from there.”

Paris Match is the $3.50 favourite for the Swim Between The Flags Handicap (1800m), Drogo is on the third line of betting in the Choose Segenhoe Handicap (1550m) offering $8, and Surge Ahead will run in the Coolmore Handicap (1300m), for which he is paying $12 to win at Ladbrokes.com.au.

Surge Ahead may be the least favoured of the three but he arguably has the most potential. The four-year-old gelding finished third in the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) back in March as well as running in three Group One races including the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m). His stable opted to bypass a spring campaign to give the gelding time to mature and he’s set to make his return on Saturday.

“I think we’re probably at the beginning of what should be his best preparation. Hopefully it leads us in to something through the autumn,” Cummings said.

“He was a little bit behind the others in maturity and at Group One level last time but given the extra time in the paddock we’re hopeful he’s able to take that step.

“Equally, he’s a benchmark 70-something and he’s entitled to an opportunity to work through his grades and see exactly where he does fit.”

While Cummings expects Surge Ahead to do better over longer distances he’s a good betting prospect in the Coolmore Handicap considering he’s a two-time winner at the trip and outclasses his rivals.

Cummings will know by Sunday whether any or all of his three runners will continue their preparation towards the 2014 Villiers Stakes.

Open your online betting account at Ladbrokes.com.au today to cover all the action at Kensington this Saturday. New customers can take advantage of a $100 bonus match on their first bet.

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