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Cabeza De Vaca Stakes His Villiers Claims

By Brad Gray
At Rosehill Gardens

With another showing of sustained speed, hardy gelding Cabeza De Vaca has forced the Waterhouse and Bott stable into giving him his chance in next month’s Villiers Stakes.

The son of Northern Meteor was given a beautiful ride from Rachel King, rating him in front before kicking on the turn to hold off the fast-finishing Firsthand.

They couldn't catch Cabeza De Vaca - November 18

“We told Rachel to be positive and mindful second up over 1400m that he may not show the same dash that he did first up. Just get him into a nice rhythm and ride her own race which she did and executed it perfectly,” said co-trainer Adrian Bott.

“Rachel is riding incredibly well and the horse is a fantastic horse to train. He is incredibly consistent and you can’t take anything away from him either.

“Today was a test to see whether we needed to step up a little further to 2000m or try to stay at the mile and aim up at the Villiers.”

Bott declared the Group Two feature over the Randwick mile (December 16) on their home track would be the ideal progression and offer the added bonus of Doncaster Handicap exception. The last two winners of the Villiers, Sense Of Occasion and Happy Clapper, have both gone onto place in the Doncaster.

“He’s the perfect kind of horse for it,” Bott said of Cabeza De Vaca’s Doncaster profile.

“He is a brilliant horse to train. So laid back and just goes about his business. He loves his racing and is ultra-consistent. He just step up to the mark every time.

“He surprised us the sharpness he showed first up but he has always been a very talented horse all the way through and has just built on that on each occasion. We’ve looked after him and he is a six-year-old only having his 14th start so we have given him plenty of time taking him through the grades.”

King, who had already steered Sedanzer to victory for the stable earlier in the day at Rosehill Gardens, took no prisoners with her ride.

“I just wanted to keep him comfortable. If something wanted to go fast it would have been fine, as long as he is in his rhythm. I was just wary of them outsprinting us over 1400m given he does want further so that’s why I got on my bike a little bit earlier,” she said.

“He was very good and had come on a bit fitness wise from his first up win. He will be even better when he gets up over a bit further and with some give in the track.

“I was very confident with the two today. I’ve ridden them all of their work and it’s nice to get an association with them on the track too. I’ve had two rides on each of them for four wins now.”

Check out the replays and results for Rosehill Gardens on Saturday

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