Former smart two year old Villa Verde will be having her first start for the Anthony Cummings stable when she lines up in the Group 2 $400,000 Challenge Stakes (1000m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Cummings took over the training of Villa Verde this campaign from Victorian trainer Shaun Dwyer who trained the Not A Single Doubt filly to win at her first two race starts at Caulfield and Flemington.
Villa Verde scored at her first race start in the Listed $120,000 Inglis Debutants Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October in 2012 then backed up for a win in the Listed $120,000 Ottowa (1000m) at Flemington in November.
Villa Verde hasn’t won a race from her last seven starts but was been placed at Group 2 level in the 2 $300,000 Moet & Chandon Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill twelve months ago before going on to run seventh to Overreach in the Group 1 $3.5m Tooheys New Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill.
The three year old filly is taking on the weight for age horses in the Challenge Stakes and finished third in 850m Randwick barrier trial on February 24.
“She’s fairly uncomplicated and easy to train and her work has been very good,” Cummings told Racing Network.
“She has had a lot of issues over time but we all know that when right she’s top-class so we’ll just see what happens.”
Cummings has pitted the filly up against a field of smart sprinters including Group 1 winners Buffering, Snitzerland, Temple Of Boom and Bel Sprinter.
The Robert Heathcote trained Buffering is resuming following a short break since making it a hat trick of Group 1 wins in the $500,000 Crown Perth – Winterbottom Stakes (1200m) at Ascot, Perth on November 23.
Snitzerland has returned from Melbourne after winning the Group 1 $500,000 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) at Flemington on February 15 while Temple Of Boom and Bel Sprinter have won the last two runnings of the Group 1 Galaxy (1100m).
James McDonald has secured the ride on Villa Verde who will jump from gate five in the ten horse Challenge Stakes field.