A dominant display in the Grand Prix Stakes (2200m) at Doomben has Vilanova now favourite for the Group 1 Queensland Derby (2400m).
The Chris Waller trained son of Commands wasn’t fancied by punters but proved he is the horse to beat in a fortnight, circling his rivals to race away for an emphatic three and a half length victory.
“He was just about the first horse in the last six weeks to win from well back in Brisbane,” jockey Nash Rawiller said.
“It didn’t look pretty the way I rode him. I would have loved to have ridden him closer but I didn’t have any choice.”
The victory was Vilanova’s third of his career and his second Group success following his win in the Group 2 Autumn Classic (2000m) at Caulfield in February.
Vilanova’s win was memorable for connections as it marked twelve months since the tragic loss of Rangirangdoo, who broke down in the Doomben 10,000 on the corresponding meeting in 2013.
“It is hard not to think about what happened a year ago but by the same token I am so pleased with Vilanova,” said owner Neville Morgan.
“It was always going to be hard given the pattern of racing at Doomben at the moment.
“But he rolled into it at the right time and won like a good horse.
“He got to the front a little bit early in his last start and it just didn’t suit him.
“Chris has always had a very big impression of him and he encouraged me to buy a half share prior to the Winter Carnival last year.”