David Vandyke will become a key trainer in two Sydney feature races next month should pre-post betting run to script at Rosehill on Saturday.
Vandyke will supply two Rosehill favourites – Choice Words and Keith’s Legacy – and he expects them to take positive steps towards their summer goals.
Choice Words will be trying to earn a call-up to stakes racing against all-comers when she resumes as a $4.20 to $3 firmer in the Thoroughbred Breeders NSW Handicap (1100m).
“She is headed towards the Razor Sharp Handicap,” Vandyke said. “I think it could be a good race for her because she will get in well at the weights.”
Choice Words was sent to the spelling paddock as a three-year-old on the best possible note, beating older horses over 1200m at Rosehill.
The mare has won her only two barrier trials in readiness for a return, the latest when under restraint at Warwick Farm.
Choice Words missed the spring carnival after racing on the fringes of the best autumn company.
“She finished her last preparation with a very good win but she needed a good break, Vandyke said.
Apprentice Blake Spriggs, who sent Choice Words out a winner in June and has been on board in both trials, keeps the ride with his claim bringing the mare in close to the limit.
But Vandyke has decided against using a claim on Villiers Stakes hopeful Keith’s Legacy in the Austbrokers Handicap (1300m).
Keith’s Legacy has 59.5kg and a wide draw but holds favouritism in an open market at $4.80.
The former New Zealander is up 4.5kg on a Rosehill win last month but Vandyke has dismissed the impost – and the seemingly difficult alley – as concerns on the basis Saturday’s race provides an obvious launching pad to the Group Two Villiers.
“This race is an ideal lead-up for him being 1300 metres because it’s a nice progression to the Festival Stakes at 1500 metres before the Villiers,” Vandyke said.
Keith’s Legacy has drawn one stall from the outside in a field of 13 but it’s a preferable barrier for the trainer.
“He’s a horse who doesn’t like being bottled up,” Vandyke said. “You wouldn’t like to see him looking for a run in the straight … he needs to get out and get going.”
The Villiers Stakes and Listed Razor Sharp Handicap will be run at Warwick Farm on December 22.