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Last-start Group Two winner Vilanova is thriving in Melbourne and has has a good look at Moonee Valley ahead of his next assignment in the Alister Clark Stakes.

The Chris Waller-trained Vilanova was one of two three-year-olds headed to Friday night’s Group Two Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) to gallop between races on Monday.

Vilanova winning the Autumn Classic at Caulfield ridden by Craig Newitt and trained by Chris Waller - (photo by Steven Dowden/Race Horse Photos Australia)

Vilanova winning the Autumn Classic at Caulfield ridden by Craig Newitt and trained by Chris Waller - (photo by Steven Dowden/Race Horse Photos Australia)

Vilanova had a leisurely solo hit-out with Steven Arnold filling in for race jockey Craig Newitt who was in Adelaide, while Chris Symons partnered the Anthony Cummings-trained Surge Ahead in his solo gallop.

Vilanova belied his run of outs in Sydney with a last-to-first performance to win the Group Two Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield in his Melbourne debut last start.

The three-year-old did what was asked of him in Monday’s work-out.

“We just wanted to give him a gallop here before Friday night,” Waller’s Melbourne stable representative Justine Hales said.

“He’s really thrived since his last start.”

Surge Ahead clocked 23.31secs for the final 400m of his gallop and heads into the Alister Clark on the back of a last-start sixth in the Group One Australian Guineas (1600m).

“I would have preferred him to have a mate because he only does what he has to do, but it was sharp enough work for him,” Symons, who rides Surge Ahead in Friday’s race, said.

Cummings’ Melbourne foreman Dan Williams was also satisfied.

“You’ve got to show them where to accelerate when you come to the Valley for the first time and the idea was just for Chris to get another feel for him and show the horse around,” Williams said.

“Like Chris said, he’s very lazy at the best of times and I thought he was quite sharp. I was very happy with that.”

Alpha Beat was due to work with Surge Ahead but Williams said he had gone to the paddock.

Vilanova and Surge Ahead are the two highest-rated horses in the 19 nominations for the Alister Clark.

 
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