Trainer Sam Kavanagh has confirmed that Absalon will take his place in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) in Sydney on Saturday, rather than run in the Listed Brisbane Handicap (1600m) at Doomben.
Absalon was included in the acceptances for both races, with Kavanagh worried that he would would not get a run in the Villiers Stakes, and owner Gerry Harvey was keen to run his galloper in Brisbane but Kavanagh told Sky Racing HQ that he has decided to keep the in-form gelding in Sydney.
“We will stay here and have a go at the Villiers,” Kavanagh said.
“I spoke to Claire Bird and Mr. Harvey yesterday and I just thought that once he gained the start that I just wanted to stay here rather than travel three weeks in a row because there is still the option of the Bernborough in another two weeks’ time.
“I just felt that staying in our home town would benefit the horse and he is in career best form and I think that he can run a cheeky race on Saturday.”
Absalon started her campaign with a fifth place finish in the Bob Ingham Handicap (1200m) at Rosehill Gardens on October 26 and won the Coolmore Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick on November 9 before winning the Listed Recognition Stakes (1600m) at Doomben on November 30.
Kavanagh has been happy with the Mossman gelding’s form this preparation and said that he is a chance to return to Queensland for the Listed $200,000 Bernborough Handicap (1615m) in Toowoomba on New Year’s Eve, depending on how he performs in the Villiers Stakes this weekend.
“It is great prizemoney and the horse does not have a problem travelling,” Kavanagh said.
“I just felt that he met a lot of the horses that will run in that race last start and he went very well.
“It is just a matter of how he goes Saturday and whether he is at the end of his prep or whether we can press on.
“All preparation long these are the races that we have had in mind and it is nice to get a run on Saturday.
“We will be there having a crack on Saturday.”
Absalon is available at Villiers Stakes odds of $19; with Taxmeifyoucan ($6) a narrow favourite from Sysmo ($6.50), Ninth Legion ($8.50) and Strike The Stars ($9).