Co-trainer Troy Corstens has confirmed his Melbourne Cup Day winner General Groove will run in the Villiers Stakes 2014 at Royal Randwick this weekend making the trip to Sydney later in the week.
The General Nediym five-year-old is one of 17 early entries for the $175,000 Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) on Saturday, a race set to feature the likes of Chris Waller’s Festival Stakes winner I’m Imposing and progressive four-year-old Recognition Stakes champ from Queensland Rudy.
General Groove entered Villiers Stakes calculations earlier this season winning back-to-back races in Melbourne.
The first was a narrow nose win in a 1300m Benchmark 70 at Bendigo on October 18 followed by his run on the country’s biggest race day at Flemington on November 4.
He raced in the $100,000 Lavazza Short Black Benchmark 90 Handicap (1400m) on Melbourne Cup Day and Tommy Berry guided him to a long neck win over Spy Decoder.
Last time out General Groove raced at Sandown-Hillside on Zipping Classic Day in the Group 3 Sandown Stakes (1500m) with Dwayne Dunn aboard.
After settling midfield he looked to challenge for the win late but flattened out in the closing stages to run one and a quarter lengths away second to the Gai Waterhouse-trained French import Pornichet.
On Saturday then Corstens steps him up in class, the gelding to run in his first Group 2 event.
“He’s done really well since, it’s a good break between runs and the race seems ideal for him,” Corstens told the Racing Network on Tuesday.
Former star Kiwi hoop James McDonald becomes the seventh different jockey in as many starts to jump aboard, his services to boost General Groove’s chances according to the trainer.
“We’ve been able to book James McDonald for the horse which is another bonus for him,” Corstens said.
Owned by the Pinecliff Racing Syndicate, the owner manager Jonathan Munz also owns General Groove’s dam, Dehere mare De Groove, and so a win for the horse on Saturday would also boost her value as a broodmare.
“It’s a really good option for this horse as Jonathan Munz owns the mare, so any kind of black-type for the family is important to him and the value of the mare,” Corstens said.
The 2014 Villiers Stakes final field and barrier draw is due for release on Wednesday so stay tuned.
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