Vilanova unlikely Australian Guineas runner

By: Mark Mazzaglia
February 24th, 2014

Last Saturday’s Caulfield winner Vilanova is unlikely to back up in the Group 1 $500,000 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington this weekend.

Vilanova is unlikely Australian Guineas runner.

Vilanova is unlikely Australian Guineas runner. Photo by Race Horse Photos Australia.

The Chris Waller trained three year old scored his first victory for the leading Sydney stable with a last to first win in the Group 2 $220,000 BMW Caulfield Autumn Classic (1800m).

But the temptation to back the former Kiwi galloper up this week at Group 1 level was resisted by Waller and he will find a more suitable race for the Commands gelding later in the Autumn Carnival.

Vilanova had shown promise early in his career and was runner up twice during the 2013 Brisbane Winter Carnival 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.

He then came out and was beaten just over two lengths when fourth to Romantic Touch in the Group 1 $500,000 Patinack Farm J.J. Atkins (1600m) at Eagle Farm.

But Vilanova was unable to regain that good two year old form in the Spring and the Summer and was languishing in restricted company in Sydney until Waller sent him to Melbourne as a final roll of the dice.

“He seems to have adapted well in Melbourne and I think that was all that was missing in his life,” Waller told Racing Network.

“He just needed a bit of change. We knew he had the ability, so we’ll see what we can find for him.”

After Saturday’s win, Waller’s Melbourne foreman Justine Hales hinted that Vilanova could be targeted towards the Group 1 $2m BMW Australian Derby (2400m) at Randwick on April 12 now that he has found winning form.

“You would hope to see him in something like the Derby, but Chris will just keep picking the races. A bit of confidence will help him,” Hales said.

“He has always shown a lot of talent and he was running well in Queensland last winter behind good horses but started pulling hard and started doing a bit wrong.”

“Chris put the pacifiers on and wanted to drop him back. Last run he dropped back little bit too far and today he just relaxed beautifully,” Hales said on Saturday.

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