Festival Stakes Winner Imposing Villiers Stakes 2014 Chance

Chris Waller’s revived veteran I’m Imposing will head into Saturday week’s 2014 Villiers Stakes after a narrow Rosehill win in the Festival Stakes over the weekend.

I'm Imposing

Festival Stakes winner I’m Imposing is now 2014 Villiers Stakes-bound. Photo: Steve Hart.

Formerly prepared and raced as a stayer in the longer distance features, Sydney’s premier trainer Waller says he has learnt a lot from the Danehill Dancer gelding of late and has redefined the nine-year-old warhorse as a miler.

“You never stop learning with horses and if you don’t close yourself off from change, they can change,” Waller told The Sydney Morning Herald.

“He is better trained like he is now on the fresh side. It means he doesn’t have to do as much work and has that finish at the end.”

The horse has raced exclusively in 1500m – 1600m races since July and has been performing well, aside from being outclassed in the Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) on November 8.

Drawn wide in gate 14 and pushed back to last, I’m Imposing found the Group 1 field too hard to handle and beat home just one other runner when 14th behind the winner Hucklebuck.

He enjoyed the drop back to Listed company than for the $100,000 Festival Stakes (1500m) on the weekend where Tye Angland rode the $19 outsider to a short half-head victory over the Scott Aspery-trained Estonian Princess ($8).

In a blanket finish, only half a length separated first to fourth over the line in the Festival Stakes with one of Waller’s other runners Strawberry Boy ($7) crossing third after leading throughout just ahead of the John O’Shea-trained favourite Generalife ($4) in fourth.

Angland had I’m Imposing tracking on the back of last start Kevin Heffernan Stakes runner-up Generalife approaching the line on Saturday before pulling out with 300m left to travel and storming home late.

“He takes a couple of strides to get going but he has a big burst and he always seemed like he was going to get there,” Angland said.

“The speed was good, which suited him, and he still had that turn of foot.”

Before the Festival Stakes, I’m Imposing’s last visit to the winner’s stall was back in July when winning a mile handicap at Royal Randwick.

He will return to the track and distance for the first time since then on December 13 when stepping back up to Group company for a shot at the $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m).

It is a different target to that which he was aimed at 12 months ago when winning the Group 3 Summer Cup (2000m) on Boxing Day, a title he won’t be defending with the mile Group 2 the major end-of-year aim.

Angland will retain the ride on I’m Imposing in the Villiers Stakes, the Festival Stakes winner sure to be up near the top of the Ladbrokes.com.au markets, where a rematch with Snitzel mare Estonian Princess is imminent.

“The bigger track and a mile will be even better for him and it should be run similar,” Angland said.

While Estonian Princess and Steven O’dea’s Festival Stakes fifth place getter Sir Moments are both Villiers Stakes-bound, O’Shea confirmed beaten favourite Generalife would be sent to the paddock for the rest of the summer.

“He is a nice horse and he was the horse that kept us going in the winter when we had nothing,” O’Shea said.

“I had a doubt about him at the 1500m (on Saturday) and that was a really tough effort.

“He missed the start and then got flushed out at the 800m and it told in the end. He hit the front in the straight but the early effort … you could see him getting tired. He has earned a break.”

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