Red Excitement has shown trainer Gerald Ryan enough to suggest he has again found form and is ready to take his place in the Group Two Villiers Stakes at Randwick.
The gelding put in a breathtaking performance in the Group Two Chelmsford Stakes in early September when he led the field by many lengths in an attempt to get far enough in front to keep champion Winx at bay.
The daring tactics were scuppered when she chased him down to win by a length and Red Excitement appeared to lose his way in his next few starts.
But his closing third in the Group Three Festival Stakes last Saturday week when he finished less than half a length from the winner Testashadow has restored Ryan’s faith the eight-year-old is ready for Saturday’s 1600m-feature.
“He’s going as good now as any stage of his career,” Ryan said.
“He’s feeling happy and working really well.
“Brenton Avdulla will ride him.”
A year ago, Red Excitement also ran third in the Festival Stakes but missed the Villiers and instead successfully stepped up to the 2000 metres of the Summer Cup before going on to win the Gosford Cup over 2100m.
There were 18 entries taken for the Villiers on Monday with the Joe Pride-trained Destiny’s Kiss the highest rated on 108 with Red Excitement on 106.
Queensland horses Crack Me Up, Hopfgarten, Someday and Torgersen are among the nominations along with Victorian Raw Impulse.
Torgersen has been resident at Chris Waller’s Gold Coast stable since September and the Group performer has had four starts in Queensland for a win and two placings including a second to Crack Me Up in the Recognition Stakes on November 25.
He is also nominated for the Listed Lough Neagh Stakes (1350m) at Doomben on Saturday.
Waller’s other Villiers entry is Festival Stakes runner-up Mister Sea Wolf who is the $7 second favourite in opening markets behind Godolphin’s Interlocuter at $3.
Crack Me Up is the only other entrant under double figures at $9 with Red Excitement a $13 chance.