Midsummer Sun may have slipped under the radar when the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) nominations were announced on Monday, considering the likes of I’m Imposing, Monton, and Sir Moments were featured but trainer Sam Kavanagh is confident the six-year-old gelding can overthrow the top dogs and emerge triumphant.
The gelding was runner-up in the Cellabrations@Valentine Handicap (1900m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 15 before finishing third in the Listed ATC Cup (2000m) last time out.
“Those two runs have been very similar because they have gone so slow he had too much to do because he gets back,” Kavanagh via The Sydney Morning Herald.
“Last start the track was getting towards a good-2 and being a European he didn’t really stride out because it was getting hard.
Midsummer Sun must make the tough step down in distance to the mile after running over 2000 metres last time out on November 29, however Kavanagh doesn’t believe it will cause much of an issue especially considering the quality of runners in the race.
“There is a good history of horses coming back from 2000 metres to win big miles at Randwick, just look at the Epsom winner [He’s Your Man],” Kavanagh said.
“Midsummer Sun has been running in these 2000-metre races and breaking 34 [seconds for the last 600 metres] home, but he’s not getting his chance to get into the races because they are just walking and sprinting home.
“I thought why not give him a chance at it. There are no real standouts in the Villiers field with the exception of Sir Moments, which has a bit of X-factor.”
While the British Import won the Toll Express Handicap over 1600 metres his first time out in Australia back in April 2013, he has typically been kept at longer distances since then.
The gelding will wear blinkers for the first time as he partners regular track rider Chad Lever on Saturday for the 2014 Villiers Stakes.
“It was tough to find a jockey for him and Chad rides all his track work and knows him very well. He is riding very well at the moment and striking at 20 per cent in his past 50 rides,” Kavanagh said.
“We put the blinkers on him the other morning and Chad was very happy with him and they will sharpen him for the mile.”
The 2014 Villiers Stakes final field will be released on Wednesday morning with the betting market due to open shortly after. Make sure your Ladbrokes.com.au account is up and running before then.