Sydney Summer Racing by Bernard Kenny

Sydney Summer Racing by Bernard Kenny

Step forward the Villiers Stakes and receive a major boost for this Sydney Summer meeting with the race winner to be exempt from the ballot of the $3.5 million Doncaster Mile, to be run at The Championships on Saturday 7 April 2018.

The Villiers Stakes has always been the highlight of Randwick’s Summer meeting and carries the tag of being ‘a good race won by good horses.’ A highly competitive open class handicap dating back to 1892 and with this year’s Epsom Handicap winner Happy Clapper being successful in 2015.

Can the Festival Stakes winner Testashadow make it another Festival Stakes-Villiers Stakes double with the Group 2 Inglis Villiers Stakes of 1600m to be run at Royal Randwick on Saturday, and carrying $250,000 in prize money.

And what of the Gary Potelli trained Testashadow emulating Monton in 2011 and Utzon in 2006 in winning the Festival Stakes then taking out the Villiers Stakes. What are his chances of equalling Aqua D’Amore’s success in winning the Festival Stakes in 2004, then in 2005 being successful in both the Villiers Stakes and Summer Cup.

Ridden by Jason Collett, Testashadow scored a hard fought nose victory in the Gr3 Festival Stakes at Rosehill Gardens over Mister Sea Wolf with a further neck margin to Red Excitement in third. Starting at an unfancied $20 in a close betting race Testashadow ran the 1500m journey in 1m31.67sec on a Soft 6 rated track.

Now the winner of 8 races and over $1.33 million in stakes for owners Elite Thoroughbreds, Testashadow is a 6yo bay gelding by outstanding sire Testa Rossa from the Flying Spur multiple winning mare Moonlight Shadow, the family of top-line sprinters Zoustar and Dusty Star.

The Bjorn Baker trained Egyptian Symbol, also ridden by Jason Collett, scored a dominant 1¼ length victory in the Starlight Stakes of 1100m on Festival Stakes Day, defeating Glenall with Isorich a further ½ length away in third.

Will Egyptian Symbol emulate Our Boy Malachi in 2014 who won the Starlight-Razor Sharp double in 2014 with victory in the Razor Sharp Handicap 1200m at Royal Randwick on Inglis Villiers Stakes Day.

The champion international sprinter Takeover Target won the Razor Sharp Handicap in 2007 in addition to his eight international Group 1 victories plus the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

In a highly competitive AHA Cup of 2400m the Newcastle Cup winner Broadside, trained by Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott, and ridden by Tim Clark, defeated the in-form Lord Kingsley by 2 lengths with a further 2¼ lengths to Montauk in third. The $2.10 favourite Savapinski finished fourth.

Majestically won the then STC Cup in 2003 having previously won the Summer Cup in 2001, while Malice was successful in the ATC Cup in 2016 and 2014. Mighty Luck in 2015 and I’m Imposing in 2013 both won the Festival Stakes and the corresponding Summer Cup, with I’m Imposing again successful in the Summer Cup the following year.

Super Impose won the Summer Cup amongst his 17 major race wins including the Cox Plate and 1990 and 1991 victories in both the Doncaster Handicap and Epsom Handicap. Cross Swords, the 1991 Summer Cup winner, went onto to win the Sydney Cup in 1994.

Also on Inglis Villiers Stakes Day the restricted listed $500,000 Inglis Nursery for 2yo’s over 1000m will be staged with the highly popular TAB Highway Handicap also a 1000m event.

Sydney Summer feature racing continues with the Summer Classic of 1200m on Saturday 30 December, followed by the New Year’s Day meeting of the Tattersalls Club Cup over 2400m, both run at Royal Randwick.