The 2014 Villiers Stakes field has been released and a talented field of 15 gallopers are set to contest the Group 2 event that will be held at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
I’m Imposing stamped himself as a leading Villiers Stakes contender when he scored an upset win in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 29, but the veteran gelding may need a bit of luck to record his second win at Group level after he drew towards the outside of the field in barrier 12.
The imported galloper is joined in the Villiers Stakes field by stablemates Strawberry Boy and Multilateral; with trainer Chris Waller chasing his first win in the Group 2 event since Honor In War took out the 2008 edition.
Estonian Princess finished a close second behind I’m Imposing in the Festival Stakes and she will have an excellent opportunity to turn-the-tables on her rivals after drawing well in barrier seven.
The consistent mare has not recorded a race win since she took out the Group 3 Carr Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick in April, but she has produced strong performances in races like the Group 3 Angst Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) this preparation.
Other horses that ran in the Festival Stakes who have been included in the 2014 Villiers Stakes field are veteran gelding Monton (barrier five), Anthony Cummings-trained Aomen (barrier four), Queensland Guineas winner Sir Moments (barrier 14) and eight-year-old Keep Cool.
One of only two horses taking winning form in the 2014 Villiers Stakes is Gold Coast-based Rudy, who will be having his first race start outside of Queensland this weekend.
Rudy (barrier six) was a consistent performer during the 2014 Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival and he started his summer preparation with close seconds in the QANTAC Handicap (1200m) and Padua College Handicap (1350m) before he returned to winning form with a most impressive performance in the Listed Recognition Stakes (1630m) at Doomben on November 29.
Tony McEvoy elected not to include Mouro in the Villiers Stakes field, but will still have a representative in the race in the form of Pelicano.
Pelicano underwent surgery after he recorded a tough staying win in the Listed Werribee Cup (2600m) in December last year and was forced to spend almost a year away from racing, but he showed he was ready for a return with two strong barrier trial performances and he has been set for the Group 3 Summer Cup (2000m) at Royal Randwick on Boxing Day.
The big loser of the 2014 Villiers Stakes barrier draw was Queensland-trained galloper Sir Moments, who will likely be settled towards the tail of the field after he drew poorly in the outside gate.
The Villiers Stakes field is rounded by talented galloper Scream Machine (barrier ten), ATC Cup placegetter Midsummer Sun (barrier eight), Team Snowden-trained Rose Of Choice (barrier 11), Scone-based Kaypers (barrier 13) and the in-form General Groove (barrier nine).