John O’Shea has reservations on how Warwick Farm virgin Lightinthenite but says others factors point to a possible third win the Group 2 $175,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m).
The Villiers provided O’Shea with his first Group win when Grey And Gold took out the 2000 version prior to On A High delivering a second win in 2003.
The Villiers has been moved from O’Shea’s home track Randwick to Warwick Farm due to renovations.
The tighter contours of Warwick Farm has O’Shea concerned.
“It changes the complexion of the race,” O’Shea said.
“There’s no doubting my horse would be more effective at the Randwick mile and probably that’s the one conundrum we’ve got no control over.
“We just have to hope he is capable of handling it.”
Lightinthenite has drawn barrier 10 and is TABsportsbet Villiers favourite at $5.50 in an open market.
The lightly raced son of Galileo won two starts back at Rosehill before closing second to Monton in the Festival Stakes (1500m) on December 3.
He steps up to 1600m for the first time but will handle it easily on breeding and style.
O’Shea elected to bypass a spring campaign to concentrate on the Villiers, partly because the four-year-old wasn’t seasoned enough.
A win on Saturday will also give him exemption from a Group 1 2012 Doncaster Hcp ballot in the autumn.
“It’s one of the reasons why we’ve targeted the Villiers,” O’Shea said.
“If he wins on the weekend he’ll have two runs into the Doncaster.
“I think he meets the right profile for a horse competing in this race.”
According to bookies Melbourne galloper Shadowfax is the main danger.
The Mark Kavanagh-trained galloper is a $6.50 chance on Tabsportsbet and has drawn well in nine.
The son of Daggers Drawn won his lone start at 1600m in May beaten Titus Vinius at Caulfield on a slow track.
Kavanagh has engaged Glyn Schofield with main jockey Michael Rodd taking a short break.