The Murray family are chasing another Villiers Stakes and this time round son Paul reckons his galloper Alma’s Fury has the edge.
The father Bede Murray, who won the race 30 years ago courtesy of Hussar’s Command, will saddle up Darci Be Good.
“Dad may have won it already but this will be my first runner in the race,” Paul Murray said on Friday morning shortly after arriving at Wagga where he was due to saddle up three runners that afternoon.
“I was probably riding Hussar’s, doing a bit of pre-race work on him at dad’s farm.”
Both Alma’s Fury and Darci Be Good had their final Villiers lead-up in the Festival Stakes at Rosehill a fortnight ago. The race is definitely the dominant form-line for the Villiers.
Alma’s Fury finished sixth while Darci Be Good was 10th behind Malavio while the runner-up Monton is out to become the first horse to win back-to-back Villiers.
“Alma’s Fury is going real good,” Murray said.
“He has really come on since his behind Kinnersley in the Goulburn Cup. He then went to the Festival and from the 16 alley he went real good, he was beaten just over a length.
“He has improved again since and I was hoping he’d finally draw a good gate but he’ll start from 16 again.”
Melbourne Cup winning jockey Blake Shinn has stuck solid and Murray draws further confidence from the booking.
“Blake has been more than happy with how the horse has been going without having much luck,” Murray said.
“I’ve had a talk to Blake and he was real happy with the Festival run. He is confident we can ride him a bit more forward tomorrow, settle a little better than mid-field.”
Murray, who is currently on the trackwork riding sideline, hasn’t been on board Alma’s Fury this time in work.
“Last preparation I was riding him in work but I’ve gone into trackwork riding retirement for the moment,” Murray said.
“I’ll be back again when they need me.”
While he hasn’t been on five-year-old’s back this time in work Murray has been rather pleased with how Alma’s Fury has continued to improve on the training track.
“He worked with Darci Be Good on Tuesday over a mile and my bloke had the edge on Dad’s horse,” Murray said.
“You can never be real confident but I think he’ll run very well tomorrow, I’m very happy with him, happy how the horse is going.”
By Craig Young