Flemington trainer Mark Kavanagh believes Shadowfax is weighted to win today’s Group 2 $175,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm.
Shadowfax with 55kg is under the key weight that sinks him into mediocrity.
From five starts with 57.5kg and above Shadowfax has failed each time.
“He’s not a big, robust horse,” Kavanagh said.
“He’s a horse who has to have weight relief in this grade and needs to be placed right.
“All the boxes have to be perfect.”
Shadowfax is $6.50 with TAB Sportsbet, the second favourite behind the John O’Shea-trained Lightinthenite the $5.50 favourite.
“It’s hard to line up the opposition but I expect him to be competitive,” Kavanagh said.
“He’s a trier.”
Shadowfax raced the clockwise direction in his early career in New Zealand, eliminating the change in race direciton as a problem in Kavanagh’s mind.
The six-year-old suffered a freak barrier injury at Geelong in October which interrupted his spring campaign.
“He got kicked in the ear at the gates by another horse and couldn’t run,” Kavanagh said.
“That put us behind to have him ready for the carnival.”
The Gai Waterhouse trained King Lionheart is expected to improve in the Villiers.
It meekly gave ground from the home turn in the Festival Stakes (1500m) behind Monton at Rosehill on December 3.
But he was reported to be lame after the race.
Monton and Lightinthenite ran the Festival Stakes quinella but the winner has drawn 18 today.
Bookies have reacted with Monton $12 fixed price on the local TAB with the extra 100m being a somewhat unknown factor.
Fibrillation‘s trainer Tim Martin believes his mare is suited in the Villiers.
She is the other horse under double figure odds for today’s feature being a $9 chance.
“There looks like there is going to be a good tempo in the race,” Martin said.
“Well ride her quiet and if they get along as I expect it will definitely give her, her chance.
“Shes fit and well and Im quietly confident.”
That speed will suit Fibrillation but Martin’s hope that the sting will be out of the track may be forlorn with the track being good and weather dry.