In-form galloper Interlocuter will be at his top as he faces the toughest test of his career when he lines up in the Group 2 $250,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Trainer James Cummings has brought Interlocuter up through the grades with five wins from his last six starts and knows it is time to test the five year old out against some quality opposition.
“The horse couldn’t be going better in our eyes but it is a big step up to be competitive in a time-honoured Group 2 handicap,” Cummings told the Racing New South Wales Newsdesk.
“He has to go out and do it yet and we’ve been racing him through his grades for a reason. We have our feet on the ground with him.’’
“Interlocuter is going to have to really get to the next level to be looking good against those horses,’’
“He’s raced through his grades quite rapidly but we haven’t been in any rush to drop him in the deep end before now.’’
“I’d rather have the horse do the talking than anyone else. He gets his opportunity to show whether he gets to that level.’’
Interlocuter made it a hat trick of wins with his winning effort in the $100,000 November Topaz (1900m) at Rosehill on November 18 and Cummings said that the Medaglia D’Oro five year old has come through the run in great fashion.
“He pulled up great from Rosehill and he looks really well within himself,’’ Cummings said.
“I’d be surprised if he wasn’t one of the standouts in the yard.
“When I think back on his 1600m effort second-up it reads really well but he will need to be at his best.
“We’re not pigeonholing him yet. He’s rewarding us all the time and from our perspective that’s the main thing.’’
Tye Angland has been aboard Interlocuter for his last six outings, which includes five wins, and is sure to give him every chance again from barrier four in the fourteen horse horse Villiers Stakes field.
Interlocuter has been installed the $3.50 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au but Cummings is not ruling out an upset from his other Villiers Stakes runners, Federal, who is marked as a $17 chance.
“I feel like the horse is going well, he wasn’t beaten far and wasn’t suited by the downpour before the Festival,’’ Cummings said.
“He’s trained strongly for it and I wouldn’t be counting him out.’’
Kathy O’Hara takes over from Angland on Federal who is coming off a last start sixth to Testashadow in the Group 3 $150,000 Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on December 2.
Federal has drawn nicely at barrier six and O’Hara will be able to bury the six year old in the middle of the pack before looking for a way out at the top of the straight.