The weather radar showed another storm front approaching Randwick at 5.00pm on Saturday, but there was time for the Anthony and Edward Cummings trained Sky Boy under Christian Reith to step up to claim the important $250,000, Group 2 Fugen Construction Villiers Stakes (1600m).
Sky Boy and Christian Reith, picture Sportpix.com.au
This was the biggest test to date for the four-year-old Pendragon gelding after six earlier wins through the grades and the last four wins in succession.
Sky Boy went into the Villliers with 53kg and under a picture perfect ride by Reith they were home by a half-neck margin over Aloisia (NZ) (56.5kg) and Tim Clark with a length to My Nordic Hero (GB) (57.5kg) and Hugh Bowman.
Reith slotted Sky Boy from barrier nine into fourth racing one out from Sambro as Fabrizro and Josh Parr led the field down the back and across the High Street side. Goodfella was in second.
Entering the final turn Reith eased Sky Boy up alongside Goodfella three wide and they went up the hill at the 400m line abreast.
At the 300m Reith sent Sky Boy away and with 225m to run they had caught the leader and were away to a crucial margin over the chasers.
Sky Boy started to tire over the final 75m and Aloisia chased hard, but the built in margin was sufficient to claim the win that will allow Sky Boy to enter the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m) in April without a ballot.
“Today was a combination of what we have being doing and it is the best he has raced. He was perfect pre-race and it adds up to all the work we have being doing to now. He beat a Group 1 filly (Aloisia) and he had to have all that (preparation) in place to be able to do that today. It might have been a Group 2 race, but it was a Group 1 effort and that will come,” said Anthony.
“I have got to tell you that I have had a lot of long term plans and not all of them come off, but when it works it is fantastic.
“In terms of race craft he has ticked every box now and he had to. He had to be up to that standard in the race today. His Group 1 race will come,” he said.
“It has been a built up, he is a horse who has being going through his grades week in and week out. Anthony and Edward would have him there on race day and it makes my job easy. He jumps well and puts himself into position. I let him go at the 300m and he did the rest,” said Reith.
“They do a fantastic job at the stables and all the credit must go to them as it is not easy to go up in trip, back in trip and up in grade. It has been a pleasure to be able to get on the back of this horse and especially coming out and winning today. It has been a pretty hard three weeks getting the weight off, but it has been worth it,” he said.
Reith rode Sky Boy to win at Rosehill over 1800m on November 24th with 58kg.
Sky Boy is out of the Zabeel mare Zazabelle who was bred by David Paykel in New Zealand. Paykel also has the distinction of breeding Pendragon. Both were purchased and raced by the late Dato Tan Chin Nam whose Estate still shares in the ownership of Sky Boy along with TA Yahaya’s Westcode Pty Ltd.
After Saturday’s victory Sky Boy has now won stakes of $420,775 from his seven wins and three placings from 12 starts.
Christian Reith, picture Sportpix.com.au
Anthony and Edward Cummings, picture Sportpix.com.au
Villiers Stakes, photo finish picture ATC