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Warwick Farm horseman Gary Nickson is looking forward to the second-up run of his progressive three-year-old Voilier who continues his spring build-up in earnest this Saturday in the 2015 The Rosebud.
One of two black-types on the Royal Randwick program for Missile Stakes Day this weekend, the $100,000 Listed The Rosebud (1200m) is set to run as Race 4 at 2:15pm and features a final field of eight three-year-olds.
Leading The Rosebud field and betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au is the Team Hawkes-trained Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes runner-up Rageese ($2.70).
Voilier, drawn nicely in barrier two with Tye Angland to ride, is also at single figures for the win at $8 to improve on a first-up fourth behind Chris Waller’s in-form galloper Japonisme in a luckless run in the wet at Rosehill over 1100m on July 18.
That was his first run since finishing fifth to Gai Waterhouse’s subsequent Golden Slipper champion Vancouver in the Group 2 Todman Stakes (1200m) at Randwick in early March on the back of a second to Headwater in the Group 2 Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m) in February during the autumn.
Connections including owner-breeder Steve Vardy opted not to test Voilier in the $3 million Group 1 Golden Slipper (1200m), and Nickson hopes that will pay off with good spring form this season.
“I think we asked a bit much of him early on so we will choose the easiest path to a good race this time,” he told AAP.
Voilier debuted with a Rosehill win over Zoutenant last December and unlike many of his rivals on Saturday is not heading towards a run in the $1 million Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) back at the Gardens on September 12 this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
Early Golden Rose betting markets at Ladbrokes are led by Vancouver, who is also the top pick for Melbourne’s $1 million Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 10, but Nickson changed his mind about targeting the feature with Voilier.
“I was going to the Run To The Rose with him but I think we’ll sidestep the other horses,” Nickson said.
“I think the Rosebud is a winnable race for him before the really good horses come back.
“We’ll take him to the Up and Coming Stakes and the Ming Dynasty.”
The $125,000 Group 3 Up And Coming Stakes (1300m) takes place at Randwick on August 22 followed by the $125,000 Group 3 Ming Dynasty Quality Handicap (1400m) back at the track on September 5.
Those races give Voilier the chance to avoid a run-in in The Run To The Rose with not only Vancouver but fellow Group 1 winners Pride Of Dubai and Press Statement prepared by Team Snowden and Chris Waller respectively.
While the rest of his spring is still to be decided, an early stakes success on Saturday would be a lovely kick-off according to Nickson.
“He’s been three weeks between runs and has tightened up a lot,” he said.
“He got knocked about early first-up and still ran on well on the heavy track with 59-1/2 kilos on his back.
“Getting back to a firmer track and down in weight, I think he is a real chance.
“He has filled out from two to three like the other Beneteaus I’ve got. There are about eight of them and I’m excited about the two-year-olds coming along.”
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