Chris Waller’s Festival Stakes winner I’m Imposing is one of the headline nominations for this weekend’s Villiers Stakes 2014 in Sydney.
Continuing the action of the Sydney Summer Racing Carnival, on Saturday the $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) will take centre stage at Royal Randwick – nominations for the quality handicap extended until 11am on Tuesday.
Currently there are 17 middle distance gallopers in the mix including veteran Danehill Dancer nine-year-old I’m Imposing.
Despite his age the gelding is in top form after improving on a Group 1 Emirates Stakes (1600m) flop during the Melbourne Cup Carnival to win the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) against an easier field back home at Rosehill on November 29.
It was a narrow win in the Festival Stakes but one Sydney’s premier hoop Waller is hoping he can repeat in the Villiers Stakes where the horse is likely to go up from his 55.5kg weight last time out.
Waller could have up to three runners in the Villiers Stakes field this year having also nominated for his Wyong Cup winner Multilateral and Strawberry Boy.
American-bred Mizzen Mast six-year-old Multilateral comes off a first-up sixth in the Festival Stakes when a wide barrier 13 of 13 draw prevented him from finishing closer to his winning stable mate.
Strawberry Boy also comes via the Festival Stakes, the Ladies Day Stakes winning son of Redoute’s Choice only a quarter length off I’m Imposing when finishing off the trifecta in third.
Sandwiched between Waller’s two runners in that traditional Villiers Stakes lead-up race was then Estonian Princess for second, the Scott Aspery-trained Snitzel mare also in the mix for the Group 2 this weekend.
It’s been a while between drinks for the four-year-old but her form this season has been impressive and includes a close fifth when under two lengths off the winner Bonaria in the Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on Derby Day.
The highest-rated duo in the Villiers Stakes mix this season are then Ladies Day Stakes runner-up Monton out to atone for his 11th when failing to carry the 60kg top weight in the Festival Stakes, and the Tony McEvoy-trained Mouro coming off a 10th in the same race.
Being outrun in the Festival Stakes doesn’t historically spell disaster regarding the Villiers Stakes however as last year’s winner Ninth Legion ran 11th in the Festival before his three-quarter length win in the Randwick summer feature.
McEvoy also has his returning Werribee Cup winner Pelicano entered for a Villiers Stakes return, the Court Of Jewels gelding not having raced since he won the 2600m black type feature in December last year.
Coming via a different path into the race meanwhile is the Leon & Troy Corstens-trained General Nediym five-year-old General Groove.
A winner of back-to-back races at Bendigo and then Flemington earlier in the spring, his latest effort was at November 15 when runner-up to Pornichet in the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m).
Other notable Villiers Stakes nominees this year include Sam Kavanagh’s ATC Cup third placegetter Midsummer Sun, consistent Group 3 performing mare Rose Of Choice, Recognition Stakes winner Rudy and Queensland Guineas champ Sir Moments.
The Villiers Stakes 2014 final field and barriers are due out on Wednesday so stay tuned.
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2014 Villiers Stakes Nominations
Randwick Racecourse – 13/12/2014
|1||AOMEN (IRE)||Anthony Cummings||104|
|2||ESTONIAN PRINCESS||Scott Aspery||100|
|3||GENERAL GROOVE||Leon & Troy Corstens||90|
|4||I’M IMPOSING (GB)||Chris Waller||102|
|6||KEEP COOL (NZ)||Joseph Pride||90|
|7||MIDSUMMER SUN (GB)||Sam Kavanagh||96|
|9||MOURO (USA)||Tony McEvoy||105|
|10||MULTILATERAL (USA)||Chris Waller||95|
|12||ROSE OF CHOICE||Peter & Paul Snowden||93|
|14||SCREAM MACHINE||Jason Coyle||99|
|15||SIR MOMENTS||Steven O’dea||100|
|16||STRAWBERRY BOY||Chris Waller||103|
|17||SURGE AHEAD||Anthony Cummings||78|