Racing returns to Royal Randwick

Group racing returns to Randwick for the first time since the spring carnival with the Villiers Stakes spearheading a strong ten race program.

Headlined by the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m), Saturday’s program will also include the Listed Inglis Nursery (1000m), Razor Sharp Handicap (1200m) and Christmas Cup (2400m).

Fresh off an emphatic win in the Group 3 Festival Stakes, the Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou-trained Ellsberg is one of 30 nominations for the $750,000 feature and is atop of early markets with at $5.

With a win ensuring a spot into the Autumn’s Doncaster Mile, stablemate and last start mile-winner Steely is on the second line of betting ($8), sharing the spot with Festival Stakes runner-up Stockman.

Along with Stockman, trainer Joseph Pride plans to back-up the five-year-old Brutality in the 1600m event, meaning the gelding could be lining up for a third consecutive Saturday at the races.

Training trio Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes are hopeful for a repeat effort of their 2013 heroics (Ninth Legion), as their gelding Bandersnatch is likely to front up after rounding out the placings in the Festival Stakes.

If conditions remain dry in Sydney, the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained I Am Superman could be headed back up the highway, after being narrowly beaten in the Group 3 Kevin Heffernan Stakes. Stablemate Exoboom is another possible runner and will be looking to build on his solid fifth placing in The Gong.

Leading trainer Chris Waller is once again not without a winning hope, nominating five runners for the race with 2019 Bondi Stakes winner Kubrick ($26) joined by Mubariz ($26), Order Again ($26), Wheelhouse ($26) and Reloaded ($51).

2016 Villiers Stakes winning trainer Kris Lees (Sense Of Occasion) and Godolphin frontman James Cummings also have two runners nominated.

In what is sure to be an exciting spectacle, the $400,000 Inglis Nursery has attracted the nominations of 20 two-year-old prospects, while nominations for both the Razor Sharp Handicap and Christmas Cup have been extended to Tuesday, 11am, after attracting 14 and 10 nominated runners respectively.

With rain forecasted throughout the week in Sydney, the track is currently rated a Good 4 with the rail position true.

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