WINX STAND OPENS TO PUBLIC ON THE AGENCY VILLIERS STAKES DAY AT ROYAL RANDWICK
December 8, 2021
The Australian Turf Club’s flagship summer race the Group 2 $750,000 The Agency Villiers Stakes at Royal Randwick on Saturday sees the winner gain automatic entry into Sydney’s most prestigious mile event in the Autumn.
The 130th running of The Agency Villiers Stakes coincides with the raceday opening of Sydney’s newest world-class venue for all spectators – the $46.6 million WINX Stand overlooking the famous Royal Randwick rise and home straight along the Leger Lawn.
Access to all levels of the WINX Stand is fully included in all general admission tickets purchased to Royal Randwick racedays (BOOK HERE).
On a day of festive celebration at Royal Randwick, a former Villiers Stakes winner and one of Sydney’s most popular racehorses Happy Clapper will make a special raceday appearance and lead the field out for The Agency Villiers Stakes.
Happy Clapper is the only horse in Sydney’s 188-year racing history to win a Villiers Stakes (2015), The Star Doncaster Mile (2018) and TAB Epsom Handicap (2017) – Royal Randwick’s three biggest races over the testing 1600m.
He also ran second on five occasions to Winx and his record and clashes with the immortal mare have been recognised with the naming of the Happy Clapper Bar on level 2 of the WINX Stand.
The Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou trained Steely with Kerrin McEvoy aboard has been strongly supported ($6-$4.80 TAB) into favouritism shortly after the capacity field of 20 runners was released on Wednesday.
His stablemate Ellsberg ridden by Tim Clark ($4.60-$5 TAB) is aiming to complete a rare major Sydney summer feature double after a last start victory in the Festival Stakes.
Only three horses in the past 50 years have completed the Festival/Villiers double.
Jockey Rachel King would become the first jockey in The Agency Villiers history to win the race in three consecutive years aboard the James Cummings trained Criaderas ($15-$17 TAB), who also ran third in last year’s race.
Saturday’s blacktype program also includes the Listed $140,000 Fujitsu General Razor Sharp Quality (1200m) and the Listed $140,000 Egroup Security Christmas Cup as part of the summer series of feature staying races.
A field of 15 runners – including nine colts and five fillies – lines up in the $400,000 Inglis Nursery for two year olds, a pathway towards the $2 million Inglis Millennium at Royal Randwick on Saturday 5 February.
Australian Turf Club Executive General Manager Racing and Wagering James Ross said: “The Agency Villiers Stakes is a time-honoured race that plays a formative stepping stone in the Sydney Autumn Carnival, with the winner gaining automatic entry into the Group 1 $3 million The Star Doncaster at Royal Randwick in April.
“The Agency Villiers Stakes this year receives a significant $500,000 prizemoney boost to $750,000 which recognises the race’s stature and importance over the Sydney Summer Festival of Racing.’’
In the Listed Fujitsu General Razor Sharp Quality Snapdancer for trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace and jockey Kerrin McEvoy is a ($3.70-$3.80 TAB) early favourite ahead of the Warwick Farm trained Eleven Eleven ($4.80TAB) for Greg Hickman and Keagan Latham.
Southern Lad for in-form Royal Randwick trainer John O’Shea and jockey Hugh Bowman is looking to go one better from last year’s race and is a ($5.50-$6 TAB) chance.
Herman Hesse ($3.70-$2.50 TAB) for the Maher/Eustace stable and with Kerrin McEvoy aboard has been heavily backed into favouritism in the Egroup Christmas Cup, ahead of the easing second favourite Mightybeel for Hugh Bowman and champion Sydney trainer Chris Waller ($2.60-$2.90 TAB).
Brazen Beau colt Boldinho for Maher and Eustace and jockey Bowman is $2.60-$2.50 with TAB in the $400,000 Inglis Nursery, ahead of Exceed and Excel colt Athletica ($6-$5.50 TAB) for trainers Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott and jockey Tim Clark.
Following the final race on Saturday, all on-course spectators and ATC Members are invited to enjoy a concert by popular covers band Furnace and The Fundamentals on the Octagonal Lawn.
The 45-minute concert is also included in all tickets purchased to Saturday’s raceday.
For all racing, general and ticketing information go to australianturfclub.com.au
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