Eagle Farm horseman Steven O’Dea is tipping his up-and-coming galloper Sir Moments to appreciate the roomier track at Randwick Racecourse this weekend as he steps up in class for the 2014 Villiers Stakes in Sydney.
The Choisir four-year-old is one of 17 nominations for this year’s $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m), the headline Sydney Summer Racing Carnival clash taking place on Saturday.
The last time the gelding was in Group 2 company was back home in Queensland during this year’s Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival when he won the Queensland Guineas over 1400m in a narrow finish with Liberty’s Choice (2nd) and Ryker (3rd).
Sir Moments caught the eye next time out as well back at his home track to go back-to-back to see out his campaign with a half-length victory over Longma in the listed Daybreak Lover Stakes (1600m).
Following a five month spell he returned to racing at Doomben on November 1 and his regular rider Timothy Bell jumped back aboard for a close third behind Hopfgarten and Rudy in the $65,000 Padua College Open Handicap (1350m).
A fortnight later and Sir Moments was back in the winner’s stall beating home Aldini by a length in the $65,000 Super Starfish Open Handicap (1400m) at the Gold Coast on November 15.
Last start he was a credible fifth when beaten under two lengths by the Chris Waller-trained I’m Imposing in the traditional Villiers Stakes lead-up – the $100,000 Listed Festival Stakes (1500m).
Sir Moments and Bell were hampered at the start from their wide barrier 11 draw and found themselves stuck second last on the fence by the halfway mark.
Unable to get a nice run on the inside, the duo made up good late ground and was finishing hard and fast behind the winner.
On Saturday Sir Moments gets the chance to turn the tables on I’m Imposing who is one of three Villiers Stakes chances for Australia’s in-form trainer Waller along with Festival Stakes third placegetter Strawberry Boy and September’s Wyong Cup winner Multilateral.
O’Dea told Sky Racing HQ on Tuesday that Sir Moments had pulled through the Festival Stakes in good order and was ready for the rematch this weekend at Randwick.
“I am really happy with the way that he has pulled up from the run,” O’Dea said.
“He has done well in the week and a half since and his work has been very good.
“I am very happy with him and really looking forward to getting him to the big track at Randwick.”
Sir Moments has had one previous run at Royal Randwick back in October last year when a first-up fifth in the Listed Brian Crowley Stakes (1200m).
He was having his first run in over four months there however and spent a subsequent six months on the sidelines after the race, one O’Dea has long forgiven.
Now the horseman is hoping for an inside alley in the Villiers Stakes so he can settle closer to the pacemaker before unleashing his strong finishing burst.
“It would be nice if he draws somewhere around five or six just so he draws in close enough to get a nice spot and preferably not draw the fence where he could get cluttered up,” O’Dea said.
“Just where he can slot in one off somewhere and be able to get to the outside when he needs to.
“He showed at the Gold Coast the other day that he can settle closer and still finish off well and it is just a matter of him finding a spot and being able to switch him off and coming with that sort of run.”
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