Drago & Surge Ahead Set for 2014 Villiers Stakes

Local horseman Anthony Cummings could saddle-up two chances in Saturday week’s Villiers Stakes 2014 at Royal Randwick with stable mates Drago and Surge Ahead racing this weekend in a trial for the summer handicap.


Drago is one of two possible 2014 Villiers Stakes hopes for Anthony Cummings racing at Rosehill this weekend. Photo: Daniel Costello.

It is shaping up as a top edition of the $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) on December 13 with a host of handy end-of-season milers on track for the race including Cummings’ duo out to earn a run with a respective wins at Rosehill on Saturday.

“If they show their form warrants it they will back up in the Villiers,” Cummings told AAP.

“I think they can both get there.”

Sixth to Polanski in last year’s Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m), Danehill Dancer gelding Drago will be back up to Group company for the first time since if accepted into the Villiers Stakes field.

The now four-year-old has had three runs this season for just the one top three finish since being gelded.

His latest start was in a Benchmark 75 at Kensington on November 22 when carrying a hefty 61kg to run a distant seventh behind Medcaut, an effort Cummings is confident he can improve on with a lighter weight over the mile on a better track.

Saturday he races in the $85,000 Horsepower Feeds & Supplements Handicap (1800m) jumping form barrier nine with James McDonald in the saddle for the must-win if the Villiers Stakes run is to happen.

Surge Ahead meanwhile was also Group 1 performed as a three-year-old, most recently failing to run out the mile-and-a-half when walking home over 47 lengths off the winner Criterion in the ATC Derby back in April.

He’s had two runs since including a first-up effort also at Kensington on November 22 when finishing second to all-the-way winner Skarsgard over 1300m in a Benchmark 80.

Saturday his assignment at Rosehill Gardens is in the $85,000 I Am Invincible @ Yarraman Park Handicap (1500m) where Jason Collett will guide him from barrier three in a smart field.

Cummings had to abandon Villiers Stakes plans for another hopeful with his Street Cry mare Paris Match, fifth to Tinto in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2400m) during the winter, sent to the paddock after finishing second to the Scott Aspery-trained Resurrect last time out.

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