Villiers Stakes Hopes On The Line For Drago And Surge Ahead

Trainer Anthony Cummings has revealed that both Drago and Surge Ahead are a chance of contesting the 2014 Villiers Stakes at Royal Randwick next weekend if they perform well in their respective race starts at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

Drago is a chance of returning to Stakes level for the 2014 Villiers Stakes at Royal Randwick on December 13. Photo by: Steve Hart

Drago is a chance of returning to Stakes level for the 2014 Villiers Stakes at Royal Randwick on December 13. Photo by: Steve Hart

Drago has been included in the acceptances for the Horsepower Feeds & Supplements Handicap (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens this weekend and has the chance to record his first race win since he took out the Juvenile Stayers (1800m) at Rosehill Gardens in May last year.

The Danehill Dancer gelding started his spring preparation with a poor performance in the Xirrus Handicap (1200m) at Royal Randwick on October 11 and finished a credible second at Canterbury on October 24, but he failed to fire when seventh in the Choose Segenhoe Handicap (1550m) at the Randwick Kensington track on November 22.

Cummings believes that the lackluster Kensington surface may have contributed to the disappointing effort at his last start and he is hoping that the four-year-old can return to his best form on a better track this weekend and indicate that he is worthy of a start in the Villiers Stakes.

“He is going fine,” Cummings told Racing Ahead this morning.

“He pulled up a lot bigger after his last run then I expected and I wasn’t quite sure if it was because of the nature of the track and it made him work a little bit harder.

“I am a little bit unsure of where he is up to for the sake of that, but we will get onto a better surface this weekend and hopefully he can get on to his right form.

“His previous run before that was very good.

“Barge and Charge goes to a mile and a half and I think that will suit.

“Hopefully he gives himself more of a chance in the run.”

Surge Ahead was far from disgraced in races like the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m), Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) and Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) during his 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival campaign and he returned to racing with a strong second place finish behind Skarsgard in the Coolmore Handicap (1300m) on November 22.

Cummings is also eyeing the Villiers Stakes with Surge Ahead and he believes that the son of Danehill Dancer is capable of returning to winning form in the I Am Invincible At Yarraman Park Handicap (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

“I am really pleased with him,” Cummings said.

“He has a nice gallop earlier this week and if he takes a reasonable step from that last race that should see him one step closer to the winning post.”

The Cummings team at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday is rounded out by Barge And Charge who will contest the Goldners Horse Transport Handicap (2400m).

About The Author

Thomas Hackett

Thomas is a passionate and opinionated racing journalist and punter who has been obsessed with horse racing since he backed Saintly to win the 1996 Melbourne Cup. An international racing enthusiast, he has his finger on the pulse of racing news not just from Australia but all around the world.

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