Vilanova new favourite for Queensland Derby

By: Mark Mazzaglia
May 26th, 2014

The Chris Waller trained Vilanova has propelled himself to favouritism for the Group 1 $500,000 Channel Seven Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7 after a stunning win at Doomben last Saturday.

Vilanova is the new favourite for the Queensland Derby after winning Grand Prix Stakes, above.

Vilanova is the new favourite for the Queensland Derby after winning Grand Prix Stakes, above. Photo by Daniel Costello.

The real Vilanova turned up at Doomben and made it look easy when he came from near last on the home turn to circle the field before to scoring a runaway three and a half lengths win in the Group 3 $150,000 Mullins Lawyers Grand Prix Stakes (2200m).

Before Saturday Vilanova was rated a $21 chance for the Queensland Derby but now finds himself at the top of the market order at $5 ahead of Group 2 The Roses winner Arabian Gold at $6 and last Saturday’s Grand Prix Stakes placegetter Pinstripe Lane at $7.

Vilanova has proven to be a headache horse in the past because of his inconsistent form but Waller is hoping the talented three year old turns up again on Derby Day.

“He is frustrating,” Waller told AAP.

“He needs things to go his way and I think he’s better on a wet track.

“I just hope this gives him confidence and he can repeat that win.”

Vilanova was sent out at the juicy odds of $15 after only being placed once from four starts since winning the Group 2 $220,000 BMW Caulfield Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield on February 22 during the early part of the Melbourne Autumn Carnival.

Despite the fact the Commands gelding has only won three from twenty starts, he has amassed over $400,000 in prizemoney for his connections.

Vilanova’s win last Saturday didn’t surprise winning jockey Nash Rawiller who knew how much ability the gelding had and now expects him to hold his form going into the Queensland Derby.

“He’s just hitting his straps at the right time this fella,” Rawiller told Sky Racing World after last Saturday’s win.

“I think Chris has always felt he is a genuine stayer and when they come to this carnival and win like that they normally hold their form in this good weather.”

Two runs back Vilanova put the writing on the wall that another win wasn’t far off when fourth to Amexed in the Group 3 $125,000 Mittys Rough Habit Plate (2000m) at Doomben two weeks ago.

Vilanova also campaigned in Brisbane during the winter last year as a two year old and showed his liking for the warmer Queensland weather with seconds in the Group 2 $175,000 Bollinger Champagne Classic (1200m) at Eagle Farm and the Group 2 $250,000 Al Basti Equiworld BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1350) at Doomben before finishing fourth to Romantic Dream in the Group 1 $500,000 Patinack Farm J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm.

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