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Image: Steve Hart
Cabeza De Vaca after the lighty-raced gelding racked up his fifth successive win at Rosehill

The Villiers Stakes now shapes as the preferred option for Cabeza De Vaca after the lighty-raced gelding racked up his fifth successive win at Rosehill.

Co-trainer Adrian Bott admitted the Group Two Villiers Stakes at Randwick on December 16 was the logical goal for the six-year-old.

Bott, who trains in partnership with Gai Waterhouse, credited their apprentice Rachel King after Cabeza De Vaca produced a comfortable front-running victory by three-quarters of a length in the November Handicap (1400m).

Firsthand ($3.30) was second and Federal ($4.80) was 1-1/2 lengths back in third.

“We thought second-up over 1400 he may not show the same dash he did first-up so we just asked Rachel (King) to get into a nice rhythm and she executed it perfectly,” Bott said.

He said while stepping up to 2000-metres this preparation was an option the Villiers held obvious appeal.

“It’s probably the ultimate aim, a nice, strong mile race at home would be ideal,” Bott said.

Cabeza De Vaca opened this campaign by wining the Filante Handicap (1400m) last month, a performance that set the tone for Saturday’s triumph.

“He probably surprised us with the sharpness he showed first-up but obviously he’s been a very talented horse all the way through,” Bott said.

“He’s a six-year-old only having his 14th start, so we’ve given him plenty of time and he is improving every race.”

King, who also saluted on the Waterhouse and Bott-trained Sedanzer in the Chandon S Handicap (1400m), downplayed her role on Cabeza De Vaca.

“He helps me out a lot this horse, he’s beautiful to ride,” the in-form apprentice said.

“He just gets to the front easy, he’s got a really nice cruising gear and he can click in really well from that.”

Federal, ridden by Tye Angland, survived a protest the finish third after Blake Shinn unsuccessfully argued Red Excitement was impeded at the 350.

 
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