Trainer Ciaron Maher is looking to step his...
A host of gun summer milers make up the Villiers Stakes 2017 nominations for the Royal Randwick feature this Saturday including last start Festival Stakes winner Testashadow.
In total Racing NSW received 18 early entries for this year’s Group 2 $250,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) including four last start winners looking to keep their end-of-season wins coming.
One of those is the Gary Portelli-trained Testashadow, the six-year-old winning his first race since January’s Magic Millions Cup when narrowly saluting at Rosehill on December 2 in the Group 3 Festival Stakes (1500m).
In recent seasons the Festival Stakes has served as a nice lead-up race to the Villiers Stakes and this year Testashadow will be out to frank the form getting back out to a mile.
The other best out of the Festival Stakes results nominated for a rematch in the Villiers Stakes field on the weekend are the Chris Waller-trained runner-up Mister Sea Wolf and third placegetter Red Excitement for Gerald Ryan.
European import Mister Sea Wolf debuted down under in the Festival Stakes for Waller, of Winx fame, and caught the eye when beaten a nostril flare.
Along with Mister Sea Wolf, Waller has also nominated for the in-form Pins five-year-old Torgerson whose last start produced a second at Doomben in Brisbane behind Crack Me Up on November 25 in the Listed Recognition Stakes (1350m).
The Liam Birchley-trained Queensland raider Crack Me Up also features in the Villiers Stakes nominations for 2017, the progressive Mossman four-year-old to possibly back-up after a narrow fourth in the Listed Brisbane Handicap (1600m) at home last Saturday.
Veteran Excites eight-year-old Red Excitement was also only a quarter length beaten in the blanket finish Festival Stakes, the same result he produced in 2016.
The galloper bypassed last year’s Villiers Stakes and instead was saved for a Boxing Day run in the Group 3 $150,000 Summer Cup (2000m), which he won.
Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott have nominated for last start Goulburn Cup winner Dark Eyes, while the Joe Pride-trained nine-year-old warhorse Destiny’s Kiss was last seen winning the Listed Tattersall’s Cup (2400m) on October 21 at Randwick.
Bott & Waterhouse have two Villiers Stakes nominees also represented by Cabeza De Vaca.
After winning five straight, Northern Meteor six-year-old Cabeza De Vaca had his winning streak ended in the Festival Stakes when running just over three lengths back eighth as the beaten favourite.
The other last start winner in the mix though is the flying Godolphin-raced Interlocuter, the Medaglia D’Oro entire chasing a fourth win on the trot.
Undefeated at Randwick having won back-to-back races in October at the track, the five-year-old was last seen taking out Rosehill’s November Topaz (1900m) on November 18.
Rested since, Interlocuter should be fresh enough for a drop back to a mile this weekend.
Other standout entries include Rob Heathcote’s Brisbane Handicap runner-up from last weekend at Doomben Hopfgarten and the Darren Weir-trained Raw Impulse who ran fourth in the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Sandown last start.
See below for the full Villiers Stakes 2017 nominations, the final field and barriers followed by updated odds at Ladbrokes.com.au all set for release on Wednesday.
2017 Villiers Stakes Nominations
Randwick Racecourse – 16/12/2017
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||2x2111x118||CABEZA DE VACA||G||6||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||100|
|2||x40211x214||CRACK ME UP (NZ)||G||4||Liam Birchley||99|
|3||1105×75361||DARK EYES||G||5||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||98|
|4||9763415041||DESTINY’S KISS||G||9||Joseph Pride||108|
|7||73x6276x42||GOD’S IN HIM||G||8||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||93|
|9||4x211x2111||INTERLOCUTER (USA)||H||5||James Cummings||99|
|10||864×722744||MIGHTY LUCKY||G||8||Fred Cowell||100|
|11||10x3x128x2||MISTER SEA WOLF (IRE)||G||6||Chris Waller||98|
|12||74134x746x||PERIBSEN (IRE)||H||5||John O’Shea||71|
|13||197×887324||RAW IMPULSE (GB)||H||6||Darren Weir||94|
|14||55×4278053||RED EXCITEMENT||G||8||Gerald Ryan||106|
|18||45x76x4132||TORGERSEN (NZ)||G||5||Chris Waller||91|
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