By Ray Hickson
It would be ‘worst nightmare’ territory for trainer Anthony Cummings’ if he sees in-form galloper Sky Boy leading again at Rosehill on Saturday as he attempts to secure his place in next month’s Villiers Stakes.
While Sky Boy completed a hat-trick with an all the way win over 2000m two weeks ago Cummings is adamant the gelding is a much better chaser and punters will see that in the 2019 Membership Handicap (1800m).
“The way the race panned out he had to go to the front and it didn’t suit him,’’ Cummings said.
“He’s pretty tough and he kept finding enough to get the job done but I made up my mind he’s better with cover and a chaser rather than being ridden that way.
“The gate (two) gives us a chance to do just that.’’
Sky Boy ran his first 600m in 37.65 in the 2000m event on November 10 and while he was being reeled in late he still clocked 35.51 for his last 600m (Punters Intel).
Most assumed after Sky Boy’s third straight win this campaign that Cummings would freshen him up to come back to the mile of the Group 2 Villiers Stakes at Randwick on December 15.
The winner of the Villiers is given an exemption into the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) during The Championships.
But the four-year-old’s rating of 84 isn’t high enough for the trainer to be certain of gaining a Villiers start plus he says Sky Boy could use the extra run.
“In himself he’s doing pretty well. He’s jumping out of his skin, he had a pretty easy week last week and the way he’s going he needs the work and the racing to keep his feet on the ground,’’ Cummings said.
“He needs to get his rating up. Historically where he is at right now with his rating it’s risky to say you’re going to get in so another win should see him go further up the ladder.
“He’s drawn that soft gate which is a big help, a bit easier perhaps than last time where he had to work a bit in the first part.’’
Given Sky Boy, who opened $3.10 with TAB, meets Savacool 3kg worse for his 1-3/4 length win over her on October 27, she has since won at Flemington, an easy run in transit will come in handy if he’s to continue on his winning way.
Sky Boy's all the way win at Rosehill on November 10
The gelding races in the colours of the late Dato Tan Chin Nam and with his staying pedigree he’s been patiently handled by the Anthony and Edward Cummings stable.
He showed promise last spring with a stakes placing in Melbourne and the making of him could well be in their decision to miss the autumn.
“He had a really good spring then came back for the autumn and his joints were still a bit immature,’’ he said.
“We elected to give him the time to let him settle down and for him to develop fully before we put him under more pressiure. When he came back he was a stronger horse.
“Everything settled down and he could go on and be the horse he could be without the handbrakes that can happen when they are pushed too early.
“He’s bred to go two miles. There’s potential for that but we haven’t put enough work into him yet.’’