2017 Villiers Stakes Day Preview


Race 1 - 12:40pm

ANZ Bloodstock News Handicap (1100m)

Calculated had excuses when he was beaten as favourite in the Up And Coming Stakes and his form before that was excellent. He always looked like a horse that would improve with more racing under his belt and if he has does that he will go to a level that will make him very tough to beat.

3 Units Calculated

Race 2 - 1:20pm

Highway Handicap (1000m)

We are always looking for horses with upside in the Highway Handicap and Victorem does fit the bill. He bolted in by more than four lengths when he won at Kempsey first-up last preparation and he showed an impressive turn-of-foot to win against the pattern of the day at Grafton. He has trialed nicely in the lead-up to his racing return and on exposed form he does have a clear edge over the rest of this field.

3 Units Victorem

Race 3 - 1:55pm

Christmas Cup (2400m)

It Is impossible to go against Broadside in the Christmas Cup. He beat a much tougher field than this to win the ATC Cup last start and earlier in the Spring he won the Newcastle Gold Cup. That gives him a clear class edge over the rest of this field and the step-up to 2400 metres is a genuine advantage. The wide barrier draw gives Josh Parr the chance to press forward in the early stages of the race and he is deserving of his position as an extremely short-priced favourite.

6 Units Broadside

Race 4 - 2:30pm

Inglis Nursey (1000m)

She Will Reign won the Inglis Nursey 12 months ago and she went on to win the Golden Slipper. I would be surprised if the Golden Slipper came out of this edition of the Inglis Nursey and it is not a race that I am overly keen to bet into. There is no real standout in the horses that have been seen at the races and the debutants do add an unknown into the equation.

No Bet

Race 5 - 3:05pm

Catanach’s Handicap (1200m)

This is one of the most interesting races of the day and there are a number of horses with plenty of promise in this field. Sugar Bella has recorded three wins from four race starts and she made her debut for Kris Lees with a dominant victory at Canterbury. This is a step-up in class, but she does have a great deal of upside and an outstanding turn-of-foot.

Purrari has not been seen at the races since February, but she has shown a fair amount of ability during her racing career to date. The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott stable have given her three barrier trials ahead of her return to racing and she is worth a gamble at the current price of $16.

A horse that I am keen to save on is Secret Trail. She made up good ground late despite covering plenty of ground first-up and she is a horse that always goes to another level second-up.

2.5 Units Sugar Bella

1 Unit Secret Trail

½ Unit Purrari

Race 6 - 3:40pm

Right2Drive Handicap (1600m)

Sedanzer has been in excellent form this preparation and there is no reason that she can’t continue on her winning ways. She got the job done first-up and she went to another level when she showed impressive acceleration to win at Rosehill Gardens. The step-up to a mile will suit, the form coming out of her last start has been strong and she is a proven winner.

2.5 Units Sedanzer

Race 7 - 4:20pm

Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m)

The Villiers Stakes offers the winner ballot-exempt entry into the Doncaster Mile and it is always a competitive race. Interlocuter will start the Villiers Stakes as a clear favourite and he really does look like the horse to beat. He has recorded three wins from as many starts this preparation and the way that he has found the line in each of these wins has been most impressive. I like the fact that James Cummings has given him a barrier trial between starts and he has a massive amount of upside.

The main danger is Mister Sea Wolf. He made his Australian racing debut in the Festival Stakes and he was only narrowly denied by Testashadow. He still has a lot of improvement left in him and his best form in Europe would make him tough to beat in this race. He will get a long way back from the wide barrier draw, but he should be flying home late.

2.5 Units Interlocuter

1.5 Units Mister Sea Wolf

Race 8 - 5:00pm

Listed Razor Sharp (1200m)

This is a very open edition of the Razor Handicap. I am keen to have a gamble with the resuming Chetwood. He looked like a star in the making following his impressive wins in the Cameron Handicap and the Weekend Hussler Stakes, but her failed to fire during his Autumn campaign. A change of trainer may be what he needed to return to his best form and he has won three barrier trials ahead of his racing return. It is tough to know what to expect, but if he does bring his best form he is the horse to beat.

1.5 Units Chetwood

Race 9 - 5:40pm

TAB Handicap (1400m)

This is a fairly open race to finish the day for punters. Malaise doesn’t have a great winning record, but he finds himself in a very winnable race this afternoon. He returned from a long stint in the spelling paddock with a second place finish at Canterbury and he should take plenty of benefit from that performance. He has shown plenty of talent without winning throughout his career – he finished second behind Hey Doc in the CS Hayes Stakes earlier this year – and there is genuine value in his price of $5.50.

1.5 Units Malaise