A last to first win by Vilanova in the Group 3 $150,000 Mullins Lawyers Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben today has promoted the Chris Waller trained three year old to a genuine Queensland Derby contender.
Vilanova threw his hot and cold form out the window as he circled the big field on the home turn to run away for an overdue win and now heads to Eagle Farm in a fortnight as one of the top chances in the Group 1 $500,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m).
The Commands three year old was beaten in a 1600m Benchmark 95 at Warwick Farm three starts back before running fourth to Amexed in the Group 3 $125,000 Mittys Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben on May 10.
Winning rider Nash Rawiller has no doubt that Villanova will handle the extra 200m of the Queensland Derby and said that he was the class horses in the race today.
“He is just hitting his straps at the right time this fellow,” Rawiller said.
“Chris has always felt that he was a genuine stayer but he has probably had a few of them scratching their heads a bit, he can put in a good one and a bad one.”
“He’s been a little bit hot and cold, he is a stronger horse than I rode last time. He was a class above those horses today.”
Villanova ($15) ran away from his opposition over the last 200m with Pinstripe Lane ($16) and Rudy ($6.50) both running on for second and third.
Favourite Amexed ($3.20) had a good run on the fence just behind the pace before finishing fourth while Kiwi filly Telepathic ($4) had a horror run three wide and battled on for fifth.