A drop back in distance for in-form four year old Sky Boy won’t hinder his chances when he faces his toughest test to date in the Group 2 $250,000 Villiers Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Sky Boy has worked his way up through the grades with four straight wins this preparation and a drop back to the 1600m of the Villiers Stakes after winning an 1800m BenchMark 88 Handicap on November 24.
Co-trainer Anthony Cummings said that Sky Boy, who is one of twenty-two nominations for the Villiers Stakes, will have no troubling dropping back in distance and a win would see him book a spot in the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick during the 2019 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
“The three weeks between runs suits and he will be sharp enough for the 1600 metres,” Cummings told AAP.
“The plan is to win the Villiers which gets him into the Doncaster Mile.”
Christian Reith has been aboard Sky Boy for his last three wins and gets the ride again on the gelding who has been handicapped on the 53kg minimum.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Fabrizio heads the weights with 59kg while the Chris Waller trained My Nordic Hero is number one in the order of entry coming off a last start win in the Group 3 $160,000 Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill on December 1.
Fabrizio also had to carry the top weight of 61.5kg last start when second to Interlocuter in the $150,000 Goulburn Cup (1600m) at Goulburn on November 25 and that pair look set to clash again in the Villiers Stakes with the James Cummings trained Interlocuter handicapped with 56.5kg.
Waller has also nominated Life Less Ordinary (58.5kg), Satano Rasen (56kg), Sambro (55kg) and Alward (54kg) for the Villiers Stakes while James Cummings also has multiple entries with Duca Valentinois (57.5kg), Spectroscope (56kg) and Gaulois (53kg).
Bookies at Ladbrokes.com.au have installed Sky Boy as the $4.60 favourite for the 2018 Villiers Stakes ahead of My Nordic Hero at $6.50 and the Steven O’Dea trained Doubt Defying at $8.
Early betting for the 2018 Villiers Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.60 Sky Boy, $6.50 My Nordic Hero, $8 Doubt Defying, $10 Interlocuter, $12 Gaulois, Goodfella, $13 Fierce Impact, Red Excitement, $14 Aloisia, $15 Fabrizio, Life Less Ordinary, $18 Pecans, Spectroscope, $21 Duca Valentinois, $26 Articus, $34 Grande Rosso, Tip Top, $51 Roman Son, $61 Alward, $81 Santo Rasen, $101 Plaisir.