By Ray Hickson
Josh Parr’s unbeaten record on Cabeza De Vaca goes on the line at Randwick on Saturday as he reunites with the front-running galloper in the Villiers Stakes.
Trainer Gai Waterhouse said the six-year-old is more than capable of bouncing back from a shock last start failure and will spearhead a two-pronged attack, alongside Goulburn Cup winner Dark Eyes, on the Group 2 $250,000 feature.
Cabeza De Vaca announced himself as a serious Villiers contender with impressive wins in the Filante and November Handicaps before beating one home behind Testashadow in the “He got onto the worst part of the track but he has come through the run very well.’’
Group 3 Festival Stakes on December 2 as a $3.40 chance.
“Forgive his run the other day,’’ Waterhouse said.
“He got onto the worst part of the track but he has come through the run very well.’’
Cabeza De Vaca's second-up win at Rosehill
Parr has had three rides on Cabeza De Vaca for three wins, all last summer. Adam Hyeronimus will ride Dark Eyes.
Waterhouse said the Goulburn Cup winner is in good order but is a difficult horse to assess on what he shows on the training tracks.
“The more you give him a slap on the shoulder the slower he goes in his work,’’ she said.
“It’s not that he’s lazy but the horse that turns up on race day is a lot more genuine.’’
Waterhouse last won the Villiers in 2005 with classy mare Aqua D’Amore and the winner earns an exemption from the Doncaster Mile during The Championships.
Last year’s Villiers winner Sense Of Occasion ran third in the 2017 Doncaster behind It's Somewhat.
Co-trainer Adrian Bott returns from his honeymoon this week to take charge of the stable as Waterhouse takes her annual holiday and will have a strong team in force at the return to Randwick after its six week break.
ATC Cup winner Broadside tackles the Listed Christmas Cup (2400m), in-form mare Sedanzer (Rachek King) attempts three straight in a 1600m Benchmark race, two-year-olds Let Me Sleep On It and Wimlah contest the $500,000 Inglis Nursery and lightly raced mare Purrari resumes in a 1200m Benchmark race.
Waterhouse said star mare English is back in work after her luckless spring campaign while another of the stable’s Group 1 winners Global Glamour will be heading to the Gold Coast for Magic Millions day.
The covers will soon come off Winx’s half-brother, the $2.3 million Snitzel colt Boulder City with the unraced three-year-old set to have his first trial in January.
— Inglis (@inglis_sales) September 7, 2017
Boulder City was the sale topper at the 2016 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale and Waterhouse said the colt has taken a bit of time but is an impressive individual.
“He has been an immature sort of horse but he has a great action,’’ she said.
“You’ve got to be patient with these horses but once he gets up and racing he’ll go ahead quickly.’’
Waterhouse said she’s tried to ignore the fact Boulder City’s older sibling is Winx, the three-time Cox Plate winner and, in most people’s eyes, the world’s best racehorse.
A couple of days before the colt went through the sale ring Winx had won the Doncaster Mile to make it nine straight victories. That tally is now 22.
Waterhouse trained Boulder City’s full brother El Divino to two wins from his first five starts before he was transferred to Darren Weir but the four-year-old was put down last month after fracturing a cannon bone in trackwork.
Winx’s dam Vegas Showgirl produced an Exceed And Excel filly this spring and 12 months ago foaled a full sister to Boulder City and El Divino.