Villa Verde Scores Upset Challenge Stakes Win

By: Thomas Hackett
March 15th, 2014
Breaking News

Talented filly Villa Verde upstaged Snitzerland and Buffering to score her maiden win at Group level in the 2014 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick this afternoon.

Villa Verde will head to The Galaxy and the T.J. Smith Stakes after scoring an impressive win in the Challenge Stakes.

Villa Verde will head to The Galaxy and the T.J. Smith Stakes after scoring an impressive win in the Challenge Stakes. Photo by: Steve Hart

Villa Verde was settled towards the tail of the field by jockey James McDonald and travelled beautifully throughout the run before storming home in the final stages of the race to record an impressive win from Snitzerland and surprise packet Famous Seamus.

The Not A Single Doubt filly joined the stable of Anthony Cummings at the end of her 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, but the leading trainer was quick to pay credit to Shaun Dwyer, who previously prepared the talented three-year-old.

“Her first two wins were just blistering and when she came to I spoke to Shaun and we had a couple of long chats about what he had been through with her and why he thought that she would be better placed in Sydney,” Cummings said.

“She came to me in very good shape and with very good grounding, so that is part of the reason that we were able to do this today.

“I honestly came here expecting to win, but I’m built that way.

“I said to the boys that they just don’t work like that and not win.”

Cummings said earlier in the week that he would access the possible 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival goals for Villa Verde after she ran in the Challenge Stakes and he is now eyeing a maiden Group 1 victory with the talented filly; with both the Group 1 The Galaxy (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 29 and the Group 1 T.J. Smith Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on April 12 on the agenda.

“There is a far bit of money going towards The Championships and that is where we will go,” Cummings said.

“She will go to The Galaxy next and then there is a weight-for-age race that they tell me is worth a bit of money later on.”

James McDonald was riding Villa Verde in a race for the first time and said that he could not have been happier with the way that the filly travelled during the run.

McDonald, who won the Randwick City Stakes with Junoob earlier in the day, is confident that Villa Verde is capable of mixing it with the best sprinters in Australia and is excited about her chances in the major sprint races during the 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.

“She travelled just beautifully, like she did in her trial, and we were able to suck up and get the last run at them,” McDonald said.

“I got on the back of the right horse and she did the rest.

“She is no slug herself and she is definitely well up for it.”

Buffering was well-backed in the lead-up to the Challenge Stakes and took up his customary position at the head of the field, but was one of the first horses beaten coming around the final bend.

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