Jeff Englebrecht is happy to concede his mare Villarrica is stepping up in grade in Sunday’s 2100m Wyong Cup Prelude but believes a significant weight advantage will help her cause.
The Smart Missile mare is one of 10 acceptors for the Travel Associates Erina Class 4 Prelude, with the winner gaining a start in the $160,000 Listed Wyong Gold Cup, to be run on August 31.
Englebrecht is under no illusions Villarrica faces a tough task and is hoping predicted rain will further her chances.
“She is an each way chance. She’s only going to carry 51kg because I’ve decided to claim on her and if the forecast rain comes that will help,” he said.
“Alena Skerrit will ride her. She has ridden her in work and that’s an advantage.”
He said the mare’s last start at Taree over the 2000m on August 17 was good.
“Distance won’t be a problem for her. She ran on well at Taree after getting back a long way.
“She jumped the crossing going out of the straight and that put her back to nearly fourth last when she should have been up on the speed.
“The plan will be to have her up in the first four or five on Sunday. She’s drawn barrier nine but I think it will be better for her out there because she can work her way across rather than having to hunt her up too early.”
He said Villarrica had two wins on a soft track and if the rain did come she would appreciate the going.
“That would be better for her but they’ve been putting a bit of water on the track, so it won’t be rock hard by any means.
“There are a few up there that are higher up in class than her but she’s going to meet them with no weight on her back.”
He said if Villarrica won on Sunday he would consider pushing on to the Cup.
“She’d only be a Class 3 horse, so it would be a bit jump but we will see what happens.”
The mare is having her sixth start for the stable, having previously been trained by Laurie Wray and Michael Moroney in Victoria.
“We’ve won a race already, so the owner is happy, and we’ll see if she can take the next step come Sunday.”
The David Payne trained Momentum To Win looks the hardest to beat, coming off a fourth at Wyong last start over 1600m.
The Animal Kingdom gelding won over the 2100m at Gosford and 2000m at Hawkesbury last preparation.
Dubaiinstyle from the Kris Lees stable is another contender, following a good performance in last Sunday’s Taree Cup, finishing third behind Shalmaneser.
Bjorn Baker is undecided if Allez Bien will start at Wyong or Rosehill on Saturday.
A large crowd is expected for the seven race program, with Ladies Day Out one of the most popular days on the club’s racing calendar.
Race 1 – 12.45pm: FRESH-R CLASS 1 HANDICAP (1600m): 1 HOMEWORK, 2 Joy For Us, 3 Elaborate, 4 Son Of A Fox.
Race 2 – 1.20pm: WYONG PRODUCE AND FARM SUPPLIES MAIDEN PLATE (1600m): 1 MADAME MARKIEVICZ, 2 Select Royal, Elaborate, 4 Take Time To Chill.
Race 3 – 1.55pm: REMEMBERING MURRAY DOYLE 3YO MAIDEN PLATE (1350m): 1 COME ALONG, 2 Rivalry, 3 Wishbone, 4 Shuffle Up.
Race 4 – 2.30pm: TRAVEL ASSOCIATES ERINA WYONG CUP PRELUDE – CLASS 2 (2100m): 1 MOMENTUM TO WIN, 2 Go Benny, 3 Meiner Freccia, 4 Allez Bien.
Race 5 – 3.05pm: THE ROYAL HOTEL WYONG BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP (1000m): 1 OMAR, 2 Rastafarian, 3 Second Island, 4 Red Chandelier.
Race 6 – 3.40pm: STAR 104.5 BENCHMARK 64 HANDICAP (1350m): 1SPRING CREEK STAR, 2 Home Made, 3 Scatter Blast, 4 Lady I Am.
Race 7 – 4.15pm: CARLTON DRAUGHT WYONG GOLD CUP FRIDAY AUGUST 31 4YO&UP MAIDEN HANDICAP (1100m): 1 PRETTY SONG, 2 Oxford Gem, 3 Fine Behind, 4 Neruda.