Trainer David Vandyke has ruled out a tilt at the 2014 Villiers Stakes with Church Boy after the talented gelding was slow to recover from his win in The Grange Wyoming Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Vandyke revealed after The Grange Wyoming Handicap win that Church Boy would likely run in the Listed Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on November 29 before chasing ballot-exempt entry into the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) in the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on December 13, but Vandyke told TVN this morning that the Iffraaj gelding would head to the spelling paddock.
“He just hasn’t done as well since Saturday than he has after his other victories,” Vandyke said.
“I don’t want to step him up in grade if he is potentially on the slide.
“Now is a good time to turn him out, if we look after him he should keep improving and he has done a top job this time in.
“He has only had five runs, won four metro races so we are very proud of him and we will look forward to next preparation.”
Church Boy made his racing debut under the care of Graeme Rogerson in August of 2013 before joining the stable of Mike Moroney and was only able to record one win in his first six race starts.
The four-year-old joined the Vandyke team ahead of his spring preparation and made his debut for his new trainer with a close second in the Wests Illawarra Handicap (1200m) at Kembla Grange on September before he returned to winning form with a professional victory in the Declaration Of War Handicap (1300m) at Warwick Farm on September 28.
Church Boy took out a race under the same conditions at Warwick Farm on October 15 and he justified his odds-on quote in the More Than Ready Handicap (1600m) at Warwick Farm on October 29.
The four-year-old faced the toughest test of his racing career to date when he took on the likes of Gai Waterhouse-trained Frespanol in The Grange Wyoming Handicap and he passed with flying colours; settling just behind the pace before finishing strongly to deliver Shinn one of his four winners at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.
Vandyke is yet to work out an autumn program for Church Boy, but he believes that races like the Group 3 Hawkesbury Gold Cup (1600m) and the Listed Scone Cup (1600m) are the right sort of races for the progressive galloper.