Aaron Purcell can look forward to a profitable autumn with Villermont after the three-year-old scored a last-to-first win in the Group Two Sandown Guineas.
The son of All Too Hard will be spelled following Saturday’s win at Sandown to prepare for the Australian Guineas at Flemington in March.
Ridden by Luke Nolen, Villermont ($7.50) scored by a head from Peaceful State ($9.50) with Black Sail ($9), a stablemate of the winner, a neck away third.
Purcell took over the training of Ciaron Maher’s stable in October and said he had taken a leaf out of the Maher training manual with his handling of Villermont.
The colt didn’t begin his racing career until September and Saturday’s victory came at his fourth start.
“He’s a very big horse and he’s taken a while to grow into himself,” Purcell said.
“One thing Ciaron has been good at is not pushing horses before they need to be pushed and obviously I’ve stepped in and tried to follow the same path.
“Hopefully we’ll be rewarded with a good win in the autumn.”
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Purcell said the stable had considered starting Villermont in the Carbine Club Stakes at Flemington earlier in the month, but felt the Sandown surface would offer a little more give.
“It’s a big fair track and gives every horse a chance,” he said.
Purcell said the plan was for Villermont to have a brief spell before preparing for an autumn campaign.
The trainer said Villermont would likely head to the beach on Sunday and spend a couple of days at the stables, going for a swim, before heading to the paddock.
“We might get him looked over to make double sure that nothing needs to be taken care of,” Purcell said.
Like Purcell, Nolen is expecting Villermont to again make the required step in the autumn, saying what he’s been able to achieve so far has been a bonus.
“I’ve always had a lot of time for him and hence I went to ride him at Benalla on a Friday,” Nolen said.
“He’s a beautiful looking specimen and he’s got good wheels too.”