Trainer Anthony Cummings is expecting Villa Verde to be hard to beat when she returns to racing in the Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Villa Verde has not been seen at the races since she finished fourth in the Group 1 Robert Sangster Classic (1200m) at Morphettville on April 26, but Cummings told Sky Racing HQ that the daughter of Not A Single Doubt is quiet forward for her first-up assignment.
The four-year-old won the Group 2 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on March 15 at the start of her autumn preparation and Cummings is confident that she only needs to replicate that performance to win the Carlyon Stakes carrying 57 kilograms on Saturday.
“She is best up first-up over 1000, as we saw last time, and so she goes into exactly that in the race at the Valley,” Cummings said.
“She worked there on Tuesday and she has been there before to gallop at least when Shaun had her.
“She did it very comfortable, worked nicely and is ready to run a nice race first-up over 1000.
“She went to the line with something in hand and that has really been her habit, but she is a very fast filly.
“She has to carry weight, but from the look of the race I think that she is the only genuine Group 1 horse there, so she is entitled to the weight and to be hard to beat I think.
“This doesn’t have the quality of it (the Challenge Stakes), no Snitzerland and the likes in this race, but she is easily forward enough to be effective and that is what we expect her to be.”
Cummings revealed last month that Villa Verde would not be set for the major Group 1 sprints during the 2014 Spring Racing Carnival, but the leading Sydney trainer feels that the speedy mare is set for a big campaign.
Villa Verde will return to Sydney for the Group 3 Concorde Stakes (1000m) at Royal Randwick on September 6 and the Group 2 The Shorts (1100m) at the same venue on September 20 and Cummings will then assess which races to target with the Group 2 winner in Melbourne.
“She comes back to Sydney and runs in the Concord and then goes on to the Shorts,” Cummings said.
“Then we will sit down, have a look and see what the sprinting looks like in Melbourne.
“We will pick out a couple of goals and certainly the boys would like to see her run through Flemington week and she will.
“Whether she runs in the mares race on the Thursday or the Yellowglen; there are a few options for her and that would give us another look at her at 1200 because I am certain that at some stage she will win at the trip.”
Villa Verde has won three races from her 13 race starts to date and has accumulated over $600,000 in prizemoney for connections.