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A Doncaster Mile ballot exemption for next year’s classic is up for grabs at Royal Randwick on Saturday with the running of the Villiers Stakes 2020 and the updated markets for the Group 2 event have Through The Cracks on top.
The field for this summer’s Group 2 $250,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) is down to 14 after the early withdrawal of the rails-drawn Mr Marathon Man (1) and it is a tight market on the remaining runners through Ladbrokes.com.au.
Current Villiers Stakes betting sees five runners under $10 for the win including the firming favourite and market mover, the Angela Davies-trained Through The Cracks.
The Gosford-based son of Wanted was luckless last start from out wide (14 of 16) in Rosehill’s Group 3 Festival Stakes (1500m) when running a midfield seventh.
He was only 2.7 lengths beaten without ever having gotten in it from the nasty barrier and should have an easier time of it from a better gate getting out of the mile at Randwick this weekend.
Through The Cracks, who gets in on 53kg again, jumps from barrier seven with Brenton Avdulla coming aboard and is at $5 to atone and return to winning form.
The other best in betting now at an equal $5 quote to salute is fellow light-weight Criaderas (53kg) for Godolphin.
Kerrin McEvoy partners the James Cummings-trained Lonhro four-year-old who is drawn wide (13), but who has solid Randwick form (3:1-1-1).
He is yet to win over further than 1400m, but comes back from 57.5kg last time out when eighth to stablemate Colette in the wet (Heavy 9) at Rosehill on October 31 in the $7.5 million Golden Eagle.
This looks a more winnable event and he’ll be better suited on this course off a little let-up.
Following closely at Villiers Stakes odds of $7 is then the in-form Outrageous for Hawkes Racing chasing a third win on the trot.
The talented All Too Hard gelding won at Flemington over the Melbourne Cup Carnival before a narrow victory in the Festival Stakes on November 28 carrying 54kg.
Has been kept fresh since, but will need to be very good going up notably in weight to 56.5kg this weekend and without a previous win at Randwick (6:0-1-3) or a top three finish over the distance from five starts.
Rounding out the single-figure Villiers Stakes fancies this season are fellow last start winner Greysful Glamour ($8.50) prepared by Mark Newnham and the Ron Quinton-trained Royal Celebration ($8.50).
Stratum mare Greysful Glamour also has a pretty poor Randwick record with three seconds from 10 starts, but two of those have been over the mile.
She hasn’t run since Festival Stakes Day when she won the Listed ATC Cup (2000m) by two and a half lengths and could find the 1600m a little short of her liking.
Royal Celebration hasn’t won since April, but the five-year-old entire caught the eye when second from a wide alley in the Festival Stakes and has won his only other start over a mile.
2020 Villiers Stakes Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||25×0263410||FUN FACT||Bjorn Baker||Joshua Parr||4||58.5kg||102|
|2||60434×3009||BEST OF DAYS (GB)||James Cummings||Hugh Bowman||3||58kg||101|
|3||7x33245x11||OUTRAGEOUS||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||10||56.5kg||98|
|4||320×402801||GREYSFUL GLAMOUR||Mark Newnham||Ms Rachel King||6||56kg||101|
|5||82435×3504||RELOADED||Chris Waller||James McDonald||9||55.5kg||96|
|6||1x2128x235||PHAISTOS||James Cummings||Jason Collett||12||55kg||95|
|7||432115×382||ROYAL CELEBRATION||Ron Quinton||Christian Reith||11||55kg||95|
|8||6x832672x6||SAMBRO||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||2||54.5kg||94|
|9||74x553x800||MILITARY ZONE||Peter & Paul Snowden||Robbie Dolan||5||54kg||93|
|10||22×1643636||SAVACOOL (NZ)||Chris Waller||Ms Kathy O’Hara||13||53kg||95|
|11||x797x31x17||BERDIBEK (FR)||John O’Shea||Jean Van Overmeire (a)||15||53kg||91|
|12||433121×317||THROUGH THE CRACKS||Angela Davies||Brenton Avdulla||8||53kg||91|
|13||x2222x4610||AL MAH HAHA||Tash Burleigh||Jay Ford||7||53kg||89|
|14||600400×074||MR MARATHON MAN (GB)||Richard Litt||Tom Sherry (a)||1||53kg||90|
|15||11×13128||CRIADERAS||James Cummings||Kerrin McEvoy||14||53kg||88|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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