Absalon will be Sam Kavanagh’s only representative in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1550m) at the Randwick Kensington track on Saturday; with the rising trainer electing to save Midsummer Sun for the Group 3 Summer Cup (2000m) at Randwick on Boxing Day.
Midsummer Sun has been in good form since returning to the races in October, finishing second in the Listed Visit Victoria Plate (1800m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day before finishing fourth in the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) at Caulfield, and was included in the nominations for both the Villiers Stakes and Western Health Cup (2000m) at Flemington this weekend.
Kavanagh told Racing Ahead this morning that he is not planning to accept in either race with Midsummer Sun and will save the Monsun gelding for the Summer Cup in two weeks’ time; a race in which he believes the promising stayer can record his first win at Group level.
“I might even wait until the Summer Cup,” Kavanagh said on RSN.
“The horse is in good form and I sort of looked at that Melbourne race and he is up high in the weights.
“The Summer Cup comes up on Boxing Day and now that the Villiers is on the Kensington track I will wait for that.
“That will probably allow Absalon to get into the field for the Villiers.
“It (Summer Cup) has had a reduction to 2000 metres and his form at 2000 fresh is excellent.
“He gets in with a small weight and a lot of those horses will be giving him weight.
“That race can fall away so we will just wait and see what happens.
“He is in great order and I just felt waiting for that race on Boxing Day is a great option for him and I think he will be tough to beat.”
Kavanagh’s other charge Absalon was included in the nominations for both the Villiers Stakes and the Listed Brisbane Handicap (1600m) at Doomben but is set to remain in Sydney and contest the Group 2 event.
Absalon is taking winning form into the Villiers Stakes, after taking out the Coolmore Australia Handicap (1400m) at Randwick and the Listed Recognition Stakes (1600m) at Doomben, and Kavanagh is confident that the Mossman gelding will be suited by the expected slow tempo in the race.
“He has really come on this prep; his first-up run he ran well behind some decent horses and second-up he ran well with a big weight,” Kavanagh said.
“I was a bit surprised because he hasn’t handled wet tracks before but he was on the speed and bowled along.
“He has had a few backs problems in the past but he is getting better out of the gates and getting into his rhythm and sitting on the pace now that we have got him over further and that seems to suit him.
“There doesn’t look to be a heap of speed so I would like to see him roll across and sit in the first three.”
Kavanagh is chasing his first win at Group level as a trainer after narrowly missing out on claiming the Group 3 Victoria Handicap (1400m) and Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) with Bagman last year.