Adelaide horseman Lloyd Kennewell has described his in-form mare Viddora as being “on the way up” as she prepares to tackle a class field of sprinters in the 2016 Carlyon Stakes at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
The four-year-old daughter of I Am Invincible enjoyed a first-up win at home at Morphettville on July 30 beating home Ocean Embers in the Listed Lighting Stakes (1050m) where she overcame the outside alley (14 of 14) to post her fifth career success at start number 12.
Shea Eden’s Beneteau mare Ocean Embers franked the Lighting Stakes form with an 1100m win at Caulfield last Saturday, but Kennewell is happy with his decision to wait a week and run Viddora at the Valley this weekend.
“It was a monster win [in the Lightning Stakes], she was challenged as well at the 200m, pretty heavily I thought,” Kennewell told Racing Victoria this week.
“She fought Ocean Embers off well and obviously it’s since franked the form very well.
“I wanted the extra week between the runs rather than going to Caulfield last week and I wanted to stay to the shorter distances so they were the two plusses to go to the Valley.”
The $120,000 Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) attracted a bumper 19 nominations on Monday and will be Viddora’s third look at the notoriously tight Moonee Valley circuit.
Her latest run at the track produced a devastatingly close third over the same 1000m distance in late February behind Stellar Collision, a race Kennewell believes she should have won.
“She ran super at the Valley once before, just getting beat and probably should’ve nearly won,” he said.
“The negative is probably the set weights and penalties but she’s a mare that’s on the up.”
While he is unsure about the set weights plus penalties conditions, Kennewell is tipping the form of the Lighting Stakes to hold up again this season.
Last year the Mark Kavanagh-trained Wild Rain won the Lighting Stakes on the back of a Group 3 Sir John Monash Stakes (1100m) second.
The now five-year-old daughter of Manhattan Rain has since saluted in a further two black-types, winning Sandown’s Listed Doveton Stakes (1000m) in December and going one better than last year with success in the Monash Stakes on July 16.
Wild Rain is also nominated for the Carlyon Stakes on Saturday, and Kennewell believes his hopeful has the same element of class making for an interesting showdown.
“[Wild Rain] won the Lightning the year before us and it’s gone on to do all of this and I think it’s just a nice mare, it’s no superstar,” Kennewell said.
“I think she’s in the same boat as it.”
He is tipping improvement from Viddora off the Lighting Stakes and is hoping for a mid-field draw on the weekend.
“She had improvement in her because she was pretty burly going into it,” Kennewell added.
“I think that run has definitely tightened her up, I can’t fault here.
“If she can draw middle of the line somewhere and there’s good speed in the race… she’s got to be a good chance.”
The other standout Carlyon Stakes nominees include the Robert Smerdon-trained Monash Stakes third placegetter Atmospherical, Stephen McKee’s New Zealand raider Passing Shot and Lonhro mare Heatherly whose last run was a third to Flamberge in February’s Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m).
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