Trainer Chris Waller is hopeful of maiden Group 1 success for Vilanova in the Queensland Derby (2400m) at Eagle Farm on June 7th after an impressive performance to stroll home and win the Group 3 Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben last weekend.
Comfortably jogging clear of the main pack to finish nearly four lengths in the clear of closest rival Pinstripe Lane, the Commands gelding has largely performed well over 10 starts throughout his current preparation, but has been unable to justify resounding support on more than one occasion, appearing to lack focus and drive.
Understandably pleased with Vilanova’s impressive performance at Doomben last weekend, Waller told AAP he is hopeful the three-year-old will gain confidence from the triumph and translate his form to a Derby win next time out.
“He is frustrating,” Waller said.
“He needs things to go his way and I think he’s better on a wet track.
“I just hope this gives him confident and he can repeat that win.”
Claiming three wins and seven places from his 22 competitive race starts to date, Vilanova recorded a slow start to his current campaign; finishing third in two minor events before fading in form for seventh in both the Inglis Bonus 3.y.o (1600m) and Klink 3.y.o (1600m) on February 8th.
Returning punters favouritism when strolling home to win the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) on February 22nd, the gelding out of Our Valpolicella has continued to build in form and experience over five proceeding starts; finishing a fighting fourth in the Group 3 Rough Habit Plate prior to his Grand Prix Triumph.
Vilanova is aiming to repeat the impressive feats of classy stable mate Hawkspur, who completed the Grand Prix Stakes/Queensland Derby double for Waller is 2013.
Following his impressive performance in the Grand Prix Stakes, Vilanova has been cut in early betting markets for success in the 2015 Queensland Derby, currently offered at odds of $4.50.
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