Chris Waller’s former Queensland Derby placegetter Vilanova is nominated to return to racing next Tuesday in the Australia Day Cup 2016 at Royal Randwick Racecourse.
A host of black-type racing takes place around the country on the Australia Day public holiday including the $100,000 Listed Australia Day Cup (2400m) for the Sydney stayers.
Nominations for the mile and a half quality handicap are extended until 11am (AEST) on Thursday after attracting only eight early entries.
Heading the original nominees is Waller’s five-year-old son of Commands Vilanova, a former top three-year-old who boasts multiple Group wins and ran third in the 2014 Queensland Derby in elite level company.
He broke a lengthy winning drought last start scoring the Listed Tattersall’s Cup (2400m) win on New Year’s Day at Randwick, his first victory since the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) in Brisbane back in May of 2014.
Vilanova, if accepted, returns to the same track and distance on January 26 chasing back-to-back Randwick stakes wins in the Australia Day Cup.
Waller has also nominated for Black Jag, the seven-year-old Excites gelding out to atone for a dead last when 14th to Group 1 winning mare Tinto beaten 13 lengths in the Magic Millions Trophy (1800m) at the Gold Coast earlier this month.
Vilanova is one of five last start winners among the current Australia Stakes Day nominations.
The Danny O’Brien-trained Bajor saluted over the distance (2400m) at Sandown-Lakeside on January 13 while Bjorn Baker’s O’Reilly five-year-old Mr Steal has winning form up to 2300m and won over 1900m at Canterbury on January 9.
Matthew Dale’s in-form Bernardini mare from Canberra Linsang has won two of her past three starts all over 2000m at home, the four-year-old’s last win being by two and a half lengths carrying 59.5kg to victory on December 29.
She has had just nine starts to date and has previous Sydney form during her spring – autumn campaign last year.
The final last start winner in the mix is the Joe Pride-trained Power Of Destiny seven-year-old Destiny’s Kiss.
The 50-start veteran has won up to two miles (3200m) and was last seen taking out his 11th win in the Listed Gosford Cup (2100m) on January 8.
Gregory Hickman’s Dream Ballad six-year-old Dream Folk also comes out of the Gosford Cup having run third to Destiny’s Kiss beaten one and a half lengths.
Rounding out the early Australia Day Cup entries is the Bryce Heyes-trained Thurston who has winning form only up to 1350m and is unplaced from two previous Randwick runs including the 12th place to Kanji over the mile on New Year’s Day.
Check out the current Australia Day Cup 2016 nominations below, final acceptances closing on Friday at 9:00am (AEDT).
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2016 Australia Day Cup Nominations
Randwick Racecourse – 26/01/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||6347×10451||BAJOUR (NZ)||G||5||Danny O’Brien||–|
|2||62176×5240||BLACK JAG||G||7||Chris Waller||–|
|3||0435x69x31||DESTINY’S KISS||G||7||Joseph Pride||98|
|4||6534525063||DREAM FOLK||G||6||Gregory Hickman||79|
|6||511147×801||MR STEAL (NZ)||G||5||Bjorn Baker||73|
|7||26447×3320||THURSTON (NZ)||G||5||Bryce Heys||66|
|8||760×773361||VILANOVA (NZ)||G||5||Chris Waller||92|