Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
Race favourite Interlocuter has come up trumps with gate four in the Villiers Stakes 2017 field and barrier draw for Saturday’s Randwick summer racing feature.
A quality field of 15 milers has been released for this season’s Group 2 $250,000 Inglis Villiers Stakes (1600m), the handicap clash set to run as Royal Randwick Race 7 at 4:20pm (AEDT) on Saturday.
Pre-field Villiers Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au was dominated by the Godolphin-raced, James Cummings-trained Interlocuter and a favourable barrier four draw is sure to see the in-form entire retain top spot in the markets.
A winner of six of his nine career starts to date, Medaglia D’Oro five-year-old Interlocuter is undefeated this prep and on Saturday chases a fourth Sydney win on the trot.
His latest victory was on November 18 at Rosehill in the $100,000 November Topaz (1900m) and a freshen-up between runs should see him fresh enough for the drop back to a mile on the weekend.
Interlocuter is up in grade, but gets into the Villiers Stakes well weight-wise back from the 56kg he carried to victory last start to 54.5kg on Saturday.
Also on 54.5kg and draw ideally in barrier two is the Liam Birchely-trained Brisbane galloper Crack Me Up on the short seven day turn around.
Prior to that Crack Me Up enjoyed a Listed Recognition Stakes (1350m) win on November 25 back home in Brisbane and this weekend he has his first start outside of Queensland.
Jockey Jason Collett comes aboard in place of Matthew McGillivray on Saturday and Crack Me Up chases a third win from seven starts over the 1600m distance.
The other Queensland raiders in the Villiers Stakes field this summer are the Desleigh Forster-trained Someday and the better-fancied Robert Heathcote-trained Hopfgarten.
Hopfgarten is another Brisbane Handicap graduate having finished runner-up in the race last weekend, but has suffered an early blow drawing barrier 14 of 15 for the Villiers Stakes.
Twelve months ago he had the same wide alley when fifth to Sense Of Occasion and Heathcote will be devastated with the Villiers Stakes barrier draw after saying his horse needed a good gate to be competitive.
Heading the Villiers Stakes weights are Destiny’s Kiss (59kg) and the Gerald Ryan-trained Red Excitement (58kg) drawn in barriers 11 and five respectively.
Joe Pride’s veteran nine-year-old Destiny’s Kiss has his 76th career start on the weekend, the $1.26 million earner better suited to more metres having last been seen carrying 60kg to victory at the track on October 21 in the Listed Tattersall’s Cup (2400m).
Red Excitement is also getting on age-wise, Brenton Avdulla retaining the ride on the Excites eight-year-old whose last start produced a third to Testashadow in Rosehill’s Group 3 Festival Stakes (1500m) on December 2.
The Gary Portelli-trained Festival Stakes winner Testashadow is also back for the rematch on Saturday chasing a Group summer double from gate eight, while the Chris Waller-trained Mister Sea Wolf is the other key graduate out of the traditional lead-up race.
A European import, Mister Sea Wolf debuted in Australia for Waller with a Festival Stakes second and presents fitter for the run jumping from barrier 13 with Kerrin McEvoy aboard this weekend.
Other key contenders include the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Goulburn Cup winner Dark Eyes in the outside alley and his stablemate Cabeza De Vaca also in double digits (12).
See below for the full Villiers Stakes 2017 field, barriers, jockeys and weights with updated odds to be released shortly at Ladbrokes.com.au.
2017 Villiers Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Randwick Race 7 (4:20pm) – 16/12/2017
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||9763415041||DESTINY’S KISS||Joseph Pride||Jay Ford||11||59kg||108|
|2||55×4278053||RED EXCITEMENT||Gerald Ryan||Brenton Avdulla||5||58kg||106|
|3||x2908x1632||HOPFGARTEN||Robert Heathcote||Christian Reith||14||57kg||104|
|4||1633030×71||TESTASHADOW||Gary Portelli||Ben Melham||8||57kg||104|
|5||2x2111x118||CABEZA DE VACA||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Joshua Parr||12||55kg||100|
|6||864×722744||MIGHTY LUCKY||Fred Cowell||Chris O’Brien||7||55kg||100|
|7||x40211x214||CRACK ME UP (NZ)||Liam Birchley||Jason Collett||2||54.5kg||99|
|8||4x211x2111||INTERLOCUTER (USA)||James Cummings||Tye Angland||4||54.5kg||99|
|9||1105×75361||DARK EYES||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Adam Hyeronimus||15||54kg||98|
|10||6791127434||EMBLEY||Bjorn Baker||Josh Adams||1||54kg||98|
|11||10x3x128x2||MISTER SEA WOLF (IRE)||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||13||54kg||98|
|12||x63773x536||FEDERAL||James Cummings||Ms Kathy O’Hara||6||53kg||96|
|13||73x6276x42||GOD’S IN HIM||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Andrew Adkins (a)||3||53kg||93|
|15||6x3941x065||SALSONIC||Jason Coyle||Peter Wells||9||53kg||89|
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