Festival Stakes placegetters among Villiers Stakes nominations

The Festival Stakes placegetters are among the twenty-six nominations for the Group 2 $250,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.

Festival Stakes winner Mighty Lucky is among the nominations for the Villiers Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Festival Stakes winner Mighty Lucky is among the nominations for the Villiers Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Mighty Lucky, It’s Somewhat and Peace Force crossed the line together with less than a half a length separating the trio in the Listed $150,000 Sky Thoroughbred Central Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill last Saturday week.

The three placegetters along with eight of the other Festival Stakes runners, Zanbagh, Red Excitement, Ninth Legion, Frespanol, I’m Imposing, Pheidon, Tinto, and Keepit To Yourself, are also nominated for the Villiers Stakes.

Mighty Lucky was one of the outsiders of the Festival Stakes at $21 and trainer Fred Cowell is keen to head to Randwick to try to claim another feature race win for the Casino Prince six year old.

“He’s not a Group One horse but the Villiers won’t be a lot stronger than that,” Cowell said after the Festival Stakes win.

“He’s a lovely horse. He’s by Casino Prince and they are all lovely horses.”

It’s Somewhat is one of four horses trainer John O’Shea has entered for the Villiers Stakes, the other three being Duca Valentinois, Malice and Medcaut.

Premiership winning trainer Chris Waller has nominated two, and as well as I’m Imposing, last start winner Telepathic will be dropping back to the 1600m of the Villiers Stakes after taking out the Listed $100,000 Tyreel Stud ATC Cup over 2000m at Rosehill on November 28.

“Telepathic will appreciate coming back to the mile,” Waller said.

“I think she only just gets 2000 metres even though she won well last time.

“I’m Imposing will also run in the Villiers. He’s getting on now but he ran second in the race last year.”

Last start Victorian winners Rhythm To Spare and Casino Dancer are set to make an appearance at Randwick on the weekend.

The Mike Van Gestel trained Casino Dancer finishes too strongly for Puccini and Worthy Cause to take out the Group 3 $150,000 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Sandown on November 14 while Rhythm To Spare will make the trip north for Mike Moroney after winning the Listed $130,000 Kilmore Cup (1600m) at Kilmore on November 22.

Frespanol was sent out the $3.80 favourite for the Festival Stakes but could only manage to finish seventh but Gai Waterhouse has entered him for the Villiers Stakes along with stalemate Pheidon who finished a couple of lengths further back.

The Pat Webster trained Happy Clapper and Jason Coyle’s Final Decision are stepping up in class and distance and are set to clash again after finishing first and second in a BenchMark 85 Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill on November 28.



About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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