The paths of stablemates Zoustar and Vilanova crossed during the winter carnival in Brisbane but since then their careers have gone in very different directions.
While Zoustar is now a dual group 1 winner and valuable stallion prospect, Vilanova is coming off a forgettable spring as he prepares to return for an off-season campaign at Rosehill tomorrow.
Trainer Chris Waller says he hasn’t lost faith in the ability of Vilanova who had comparable form to Zoustar in the winter, including a second to him in the group 2 Sires’ Produce Stakes at Doomben.
“Zoustar had luck in Brisbane with good draws and good runs, Vilanova had no luck and was still running close to Zoustar after sitting three-wide with no cover and things like that,” Waller said.
“But they don’t lose their ability. It’s just a matter of finding it. It’s still there.”
Waller’s quest to help Vilanova find the form he showed during his juvenile season has led to the three-year-old being gelded.
However, Sydney’s leading trainer doesn’t expect an instant result.
Experience has taught him that horses returning from a recent gelding operation take time to show the fruits of it.
“I’m adamant about that now. It might be different if you give them a three month spell because there is probably natural improvement there anyway, but with him it’s only been about three weeks,” Waller said.
“I reckon over three starts you will steadily see the improvement.”
With Waller opting to scratch You’ll Never in preference for Saturday’s Calm Aluminium Handicap (1500m), Vilanova at $7 is the most prominent of his two TAB.com.au Handicap runners, ahead of Rastro at $10.
Betting is headed by Darciwood from the in-form Hawkes Racing stable.
Waller also has $9.50 chance Tantrum Testa in the biggest money race of the day, the $100,000 Golden Gift, but is uncertain if he will run.
Connections may take a softer option in the hope he can qualify for the $2 million Magic Millions. Classic.