Cummings Has Two Live Chances In T.J. Smith Stakes

By: Thomas Hackett
April 8th, 2014

Fontelina and Villa Verde impressed onlookers with their trackwork at Royal Randwick this morning and trainer Anthony Cummings believes that both sprinters are live chances in the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes this weekend.

Villa Verde is chasing her maiden win at Group 1 level in the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick this weekend.

Villa Verde is chasing her maiden win at Group 1 level in the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes at Royal Randwick this weekend. Photo by: Steve Hart

Villa Verde started her 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign with an upset win in the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on March 15 and was far from disgraced when third behind Tiger Tees and Anatina in the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29.

The Not A Single Doubt filly worked alongside stablemate Scandiva at Randwick this morning and according to Cummings worked impressively and is going into the T.J. Smith Stakes this weekend in excellent shape.

“She worked great,” Cummings told TVN.

“She worked with Scandiva, who has been going very well, and Scandiva wasn’t very comfortable on the ground this morning, but just the same she ran second to Lankan Rupee in a trial the other day, and the grey filly was certainly going the better of the two this morning.

“She has improved again on those first two runs and goes into the T.J. at the top of her game.”

Fontelina returned to the races with a poor performance in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on March 8, but returned to his best form with an unlucky second behind Spirit Of Boom in the Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 21.

The Testa Rossa gelding was given a quiet trial over 835 metres at Royal Randwick last Friday, finishing eighth behind Lankan Rupee, and Cummings could not be happier with the five-year-old ahead of the T.J. Smith Stakes on Saturday.

“I am really pleased with his work and his trial was excellent the other day,” Cummings said.

“I was very pleased with his gallop this morning and he is absolutely on song.

“It is nice to go into a race like that with two live chances.”

Fontelina and Villa Verde both fared well in the 2014 T.J. Smith Stakes barrier draw; with Villa Verde to jump from barrier 12 with James McDonald on board and Fontelina to start from gate 3.

The Cummings-trained duo are both available at 2014 T.J. Smith odds of $18; with Lankan Rupee ($3.80) a clear favourite from Buffering ($6.50) and Gordon Lord Byron ($7.50).

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