Adding the Group One Australian Guineas to his Group Two Sandown Guineas victory from the spring is the autumn objective for talented colt Villermont.
The Aaron Purcell-trained colt makes his return in Saturday’s Group Two Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield which looms as a key lead-up to the Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington three weeks later.
By multiple Group One winner All Too Hard out of Group One-winning mare Bollinger, Villermont showed his potential in his first preparation last spring when he won two of his four starts highlighted by the Sandown Guineas (1600m).
The way he has returned to training in preparation for his latest campaign has impressed Purcell, who has a number of quality three-year-olds in his care including Group One winners Merchant Navy and Aloisia.
“He’s grown into a lovely horse,” Purcell said.
“He’s a big, strong scopey horse who has really filled out. He’s the one that has made the most improvement from the spring to the autumn.
“He was probably a little bit behind so he’s probably had more room to move, but he’s probably the one that’s improved the most.
“Everything he has done suggests he’s going to run well in the autumn.”
Villermont is being shaded for favouritism for the Autumn Stakes by the Peter Gelagotis-trained Carbine Club Stakes winner Levendi who also has the Australian Guineas as a target.
Villermont’s stablemate Black Sail is also resuming in the Autumn Stakes and he will be on trial for a Guineas start.
Black Sail’s spring campaign included a close third to Villermont in the Sandown Guineas at his most recent start and he finished second in a pleasing barrier trial at Cranbourne this week.
“Black Sail trialled on Monday and trialled really well,” Purcell said.
“He would need to run well in this to go on to the Guineas but on his trial on Monday I’m sure he’s going to run well.”