Dee to stick with Hazzabeel in Villiers

Fresh from outriding his apprentice’s claim, Melbourne-based Michael Dee will be chasing a feature race win in Sydney when he continues his association with Hazzabeel in the Group Two Villiers Stakes.

Dee brought up the milestone at Moonee Valley on Friday night – a couple of weeks before his apprenticeship was due to end – when he steered home a winning treble which included his 80th metropolitan winner.

A couple of days later the apprentice claimed the Werribee Cup on the Darren Weir-trained High Church and on Saturday he heads to Sydney for the Villiers meeting at Randwick.

Dee has ridden Hazzabeel twice for a Kilmore Cup win over 1600m two starts ago and a second placing in the Festival Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill.

The Ciaron Maher-trained Hazzabeel is scheduled to be transported back to Sydney from Melbourne on Thursday night.

“Micky Dee will ride him again and he (Hazzabeel) seems in rude health,” Maher’s assistant trainer David Eustace said.

“The extra 100 metres over the mile will suit him and fingers crossed he’ll be very competitive.

“He was finding the line really well in the Festival Stakes and the post just came too soon, really.

“We’re happy to take them on again.”

Formerly based in Western Australia where he was a Group Three winner and finished fifth in last year’s Group One Railway Stakes, six-year-old Hazzabeel has had three starts since joining Maher.

“We’ve got a big opinion of him,” Eustace said.

“It was really just a case of getting him sweet again. He was possibly a little bit sour when he arrived and I think the change of scenery (has helped). We take him to the beach in the mornings after work as much as we can.

“He’s a horse Ciaron likes to train pretty fresh. He doesn’t overdo it with him at home and he seems to enjoy that.”

Hazzabeel was beaten by the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Sweet Redemption in the Festival Stakes but that mare is not among the 23 Villiers nominations and is slated to run in Brisbane on Saturday.

Instead, it is another horse from the Waterhouse and Bott team who looms as the horse to beat with Fabrizio the early Villiers favourite at $3.50 with TAB fixed odds ahead of Hazzabeel at $8.

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