SYDNEY’S favourite racetrack is set to reopen for the first time in more than a month after Royal Randwick’s course renovation was completed just in time for this Saturday’s Inglis Villiers Stakes.
The entire course has undergone extensive refurbishment, which includes a comprehensive fertilisation program and significant work enhancing drainage – an ongoing issue which previously led to winter race meetings being called off.
The surface got the tick of approval from local jockeys, who described it as the perfect racing surface.
The racetrack closed after its Melbourne Cup Day meet and the team in charge of the renovations harboured ambitions of being ready for Inglis Villiers Race Day.
The refurbishment will not only cater for Royal Randwick’s busy summer and New Year racing program, but also help to ready the track for the Championships – which two years ago had a race day postponed due to inclement weather.
Track officials are hoping the improved surface and drainage facilities will help such an instance from happening again in the future.
Royal Randwick Track Manager Nevesh Ramdhani said the plan is to keep the rail true this Saturday, which means the track surface will be ideal from the inside right across to the outside rail.
“In my time at Royal Randwick I have never seen the track look better, and the past six weeks of rest and renovation has been exactly what the track needed,” Mr Ramdhani said.
“I am confident we have the track in perfect shape for summer and also leading into autumn.
“We had several horses gallop over it last Friday with some of our most experienced jockeys, and they reported it was ‘like ‘carpet’.’’
Fabrizio the favourite to take out first feature race on the new Randwick course
The Gai Waterhouse-trained Fabrizio is the $2.60 favourite at Sportsbet.com.au to take out the first feature race back at the renovated Randwick racecourse.
The Waterhouse five-year-old is seeking three wins in a row and will go into the Group 2 Inglis Villiers Stakes as the clear elect ahead of $9 chance Hazzabeel.
All other runners for the $250,000 race are in double figures.
Gai Waterhouse said her runner is primed for Saturday’s race, but the team has one eye on the autumn carnival.
“He will certainly give it a shake,” Waterhouse said.
“He is a horse that is really enjoying himself and doing well.
“He had some time out and he has come back and he has just been shooting the breeze.
“He has come to hand wonderfully well since his trial (last week).
“The Doncaster is the race I would love to see him running in and that is what running in the Villiers is leading us towards.”
Sportsbet.com.au representative Will Bryne said the Waterhouse runner is the horse to beat on Saturday.
“Fabrizio deserves top billing. He ran a super race in the Epsom and then came out and won his next two starts. He has a great first-up record and the Waterhouse stable will have him primed for this,”
Inglis Villiers Stakes odds
Odds provided by Sportsbet.com.au
$9.00 Cylinder Beach
$9.00 Loyalty Man
$11 High Midnight
$13 Big Memory
$13 Duca Valentinois