A good barrier draw will assist Champagne...
The Chris Waller stable are gearing up for a big day at Royal Randwick on Saturday including saddling-up the well-weighted market mover Vassal in the 2017 Christmas Cup.
Villiers Stakes Day features a bumper nine-race program headlined by the Group 2 $250,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) where Waller has gun import Mister Sea Wolf in the mix for the 2018 Doncaster Mile ballot exemption.
In one of the Sydney Summer Racing Carnival meeting’s two other black-type features, Waller has another former European-trained galloper Vassal lining-up in the Listed $125,000 Christmas Cup (2400m).
The staying showdown of the day, this year’s Christmas Cup field features only seven hopefuls and it is a wide open betting affair at Ladbrokes.com.au with four at single-figures for the win.
Odds-on at $1.75 but giving the weight away with 59kg is the Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained last start Listed ATC Cup (2000m) winner at Rosehill Broadside ($1.75).
Occupying the second line of Christmas Cup betting and getting plenty of early love from the punters is Vassal ($5.50 into $5) drawn gate four with Kerrin McEvoy to ride.
Broadside is easily the highest-rated runner in the mile and a half summer showdown, but Dansili six-year-old Vassal gets the weight relief in on just 53kg after carrying 59kg last time out.
That run produced an unplaced finish over the 2400m distance at Rosehill, but he won at that track / distance the start prior with 60kg so has the staying ability to challenge again on Saturday.
“The big weight drop is the key for Vassal,” Waller’s stable manage Charlie Duckworth told The Daily Telegraph.
“He galloped nicely on Tuesday and is certainly a chance.”
The other best fancied Christmas Cup horses on the weekend include the John O’Shea-trained veteran nine-year-old Prince Cheri ($6.50) coming off a fourth to Saturday’s Villiers Stakes favourite Interlocuter in the November Topaz (1900m) and ATC Cup fifth placed six-year-old Green Sweet ($9.50) for Goulburn’s Jean Dubois.
As for the Christmas Cup favourite Broadside, co-trainer Waterhouse is confident the mature stayer has the ability to outclass his rivals following a strong spring that also included a Group 3 Newcastle Cup (2300m) win, Group 3 Colin Stephen Quality (2400m) third and brave fifth in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) in September.
“Broadside is a horse that has just matured into a very good stayer and his win the other day would suggest he will love the 2400 metres at Randwick,” Waterhouse said.
“He is one of those horses that now we have worked him out he is going to be very effective around this staying trip and I think 2400m will be his best trip.”
To back your Sydney summer selections on Saturday at the right Randwick racing odds online head to Ladbrokes.com.au.
Racing fields and data are copyright 2011-2018 © Racing Australia Pty Ltd (RA) (and other parties working with it).
Racing materials, including fields, form and results, is subject to copyright which is owned by RA and other parties working with it. Full copyright notice.