Victoria’s premier trainer Darren Weir has sent Rageese to the paddock and has left Kenjorwood to represent the stable in the Group 2 $250,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Weir had selected the Villiers Stakes as a Summer Carnival target for Rageese who returned from Perth without having a start but the four year old has since been sent for a spell after finishing ninth of twelve behind Sweet Redemption in the Group 3 $150,000 The Steel Builders Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on December 3.
The Melbourne Cup winning trainer sent Rageese to Perth to run in the Group 1 $1m James Boag’s Premium Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot on November 19 but the four year old returned to his Warrnambool stables without a run after being scratched on race morning because of a minor hoof problem.
Kenjorwoood will now carry the flag for the Weir stable and the seven year old is coming off a last start second to Mihany in a 1600m Handicap at Pakenham’s standalone Metropolitan status meeting on December 3.
“I was going to take Rageese but he’s in the paddock,” Weir told AAP.
“Kenjorwood will be entered for sure and it’s probably a good race for him, really.
“He’s fourth up now. First-up he just needed the run and his next two starts have been really good.
“He’s a tough horse on the speed.”
The Villiers Stakes will be Kenjorwood’s fourth run in this campaign and Weir expects the Snippetson gelding to be at his peak fitness.
The in-form front running Fabrizio from the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott stable is also among the twenty-three nominations for the Villiers Stakes.
Fabrizio has been primed for Saturday’s assignment with a comprehensive barrier trial win over 1030m at Rosehill on December 6 and his Spring form is hard to fault.
Two starts back Fabrizio led all of the way to win a BenchMark 93 Handicap over the same course and distance as the Villiers Stakes and then adopted similar on pace tactics to win the Listed $150,000 James Boag’s Premium Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day.
Trainer John O’Shea has nominated three, Duca Valentinois, Malice and Moher, while leading trainer Chris Waller has only one among the Villiers Stakes entries, the promising Amovatio.
Early market order for Villiers Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.60 Fabrizio, $8 Hazzabeel, $8.50 Cylinder Beach, $9 Loyalty Man, $10 Amovatio, $11 Dibayani, Duca Valentinois, $12 High Midnight, $13 Big Memory, Sarrasin, Pajaro, $15 Moher, $16 Red Excitement, $17 Hopfgarten, $21 Kenjorwood, Man Of His Word, Rudy, $31 Centre Pivot, Malice, $51 Sense Of Occasion, $61 Berry Delicious, Reiby The Red, $126 Foreign Prince.