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Flemington race next step for Villermont

Villermont.
The 2017 Sandown Guineas winner Villermont continues a comeback after injury at Flemington.

After getting a pass mark from his trainers after his first race for a year, dual Group winner Villermont will be out to show further improvement when he continues his comeback at Flemington.

Villermont won the Group Two Sandown Guineas as a spring three-year-old at his fourth start and also added the Group Three Gunsynd Quality in Brisbane during his autumn campaign last year.

The horse missed a year of racing with co-trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace giving him plenty of time off to recover from a minor off-fore suspensory ligament strain, before making his race return at Caulfield last month.

The four-year-old settled last from the outside barrier in a 1200m sprint and finished sixth of the nine runners in a race won by Order Of Command.

Villermont steps up slightly in distance again in Saturday’s Henry Bolte Handicap (1400m) on the bigger Flemington circuit and while Eustace is not expecting a second-up victory, he has been encouraged by the horse’s recent track work.

“We were happy with his first run,” Eustace said.

“Caulfield is not his track and 1200 metres is not his trip but he obviously just needed kicking off because he had had a long time off.

“I thought he worked home OK and then just got tired.

“He’s drawn a gate on Saturday and is up to 1400 metres.

“He’s probably not winning (chance) but I think third or fourth-up he could go close. And his work has been pretty good.

“I suppose his next couple of runs we’ll know whether he’s really back to his best. But his work in the past 10 days has been pretty smart.”

Eustace believes Villermont retains his zest for racing, and upcoming options will likely be assessed after Saturday.

“He’s obviously missed his four-year-old year and that’s when they’ve got to really measure up, but he’s in handicap company now and (apprentice) Teo Nugent takes three kilos off, so he should run a nice race again on Saturday I think,” Eustace said.

Saturday’s race, a heat of the Winter Championship Series, has attracted a field of 16 plus one emergency with talented Iconoclasm an early $4.20 favourite on Wednesday ahead of Hellova Street at $5.

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