Form puzzle leading into Villiers
Trainer Chris Waller is throwing the form guide out the window when it comes to assessing the Group Two Villiers Stakes at Randwick.
Many of the leading fancies in Saturday’s Randwick feature contested the Festival Stakes as a lead-up but the event was marred by severe interference 200 metres after the start.The Gai Waterhouse-trained Rabbuka led all the way to win but Waller believed the front runners were flattered by avoiding all the trouble while his Villiers hopeful Love And Kisses was one of several horses who suffered the backwash of the interference.
"She was back behind the scrimmage and I think it did affect the tempo of the race," Waller said.
"It gave the leaders a head start.
"She worked home nicely and she drops to 52 kilos, she’s only a small mare so she will appreciate that weight."
Love And Kisses settled last in the Festival field of 13 and was doing her best work late to finish seventh.
By outstanding sire Encosta De Lago out of stakeswinning mare Fair Embrace, Love And Kisses is overdue for a black-type win having been placed in the Reisling and AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes as a two-year-old, the Silver Shadow and Furious as a three-year-old and the Angst Stakes as an older mare.
She is unproven over the 1600 metres of the Villiers but Waller says she hit the line strongly enough over 1500 metres last start to suggest she will run out the trip.
He also pointed to her efforts in two autumn features, the Keith Nolan Classic (1600m) won by subsequent Toorak Handicap winner Allez Wonder and the Storm Queen Stakes (2000m) won by Purple.
Love And Kisses wasn’t disgraced in either, finishing four lengths seventh at Kembla Grange and sixth to Purple on a heavy track.
"She has raced beyond the mile without success but at least she will have that foundation," Waller said.
"She hit the line well enough in the Festival to indicate she will get the distance."
Meanwhile, Gai Waterhouse will chase her third two-year-old success in as many weeks when she starts debutante My Amelia in the $250,000 Inglis Nursery (1000m) at Randwick.
Waterhouse won the Magic Millions Wyong Slipper with Brightexpectations and claimed Saturday’s two-year-old race at Rosehill with Extreme Mover.
The superbly bred My Amelia, by Redoute’s Choice out of 2005 Group One Champagne Stakes winner Carry On Cutie, cost $400,000 at the Easter sale and looked smart winning both her barrier trials.
By Mandy Cottell