Fresh, fit Viddora ready for blast-off
TRAINER Lloyd Kennewell concedes Saturday's Irwin Stakes is a "bloody good race" but says his star mare Viddora is primed for a big run in the Morphettville feature.
"It's one of the strongest editions of the Irwin I can remember. There are three Group 1 winners in it. It's a hot little field," Kennewell said.
"But I still think my mare's the one to beat.
"She won it (the Irwin) last year beating Illustrious Lad and I think there's no doubt she's better than last year."
Viddora hasn't raced since franking her reputation among the nation's premier sprinters with dazzling back-to-back wins in the Group 1 $1 million Winterbottom Stakes in Perth then the $1 million Magic Millions Snippets Sprint on the Gold Coast in mid-January.
The powerful five-year-old, a slick trial winner at Morphettville on April 5, tuned up for the $120,000 Group 3 Irwin Stakes (1100m) with a strong track gallop last Saturday and then a 'maintenance' gallop on Tuesday.
Kennewell said his stable star was certainly forward enough to win a second Irwin Stakes on the way to her main autumn goal, the Group 1 $1 million Robert Sangster Stakes (1200m) at Morphettville in a fortnight.
Viddora has drawn gate three in the Irwin Stakes with regular jockey Joe Bowditch in the saddle.
"She's right where I want her to be at the moment," the trainer said.
"She's pretty close to spot-on and this race will have her screwed right down for the Sangster. That's been the plan all along.
"She's actually really good first-up. She should almost be unbeaten fresh. That's why we space her races.
"I'd think she should be able to get a pretty soft run in behind them, but I'll leave all that up to Joey. She'll probably just need a little bit of luck but she's going well enough to win it."
Ladbrokes spokesman Tom Hackett said Viddora had been the clear popular elect in pre-post Irwin betting.
"Punters wasted no time getting involved in the Irwin Stakes," Hackett said.
"Viddora opened at $2.80 but was quickly backed into $2.50 and she currently accounts for over 75 per cent of our hold on the race.
"Secret Agenda has been rock solid at her current price of $5.50 and that could be where the value lies.
"She isn't as consistent as Viddora and she failed to fire in the William Reid Stakes, but she showed in the Robert Sangster Stakes last year just how good she is on her day. It shouldn't be forgotten that she did beat Viddora in that race.
"The Perth visitor Dainty Tess has been $15 into $12 and Casino Wizard has been $7.50 out to $9."