It’s better late than never.
That was James Cummings’ assessment after his three-year-old colt Vilana saluted by a length in the $250,000 Fred Best Classic (1400m) at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Cummings will now have to pay a late nomination for the $1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap on June 11 because this feature sprint over the same distance was out of his initial plans.
When Vilana ran a disappointing fifth in the Hawkesbury Guineas on April 30, Cummings emphatically ruled out setting him for the Stradbroke.
2022 Fred Best Classic Replay
That suddenly changed after his brave victory in the Brisbane feature.
“As things have turned out he’s been rather lightly-raced. It’s not a bad thing to come into this sort of form two weeks out from the Stradbroke,” Cummings told Sky Racing.
“We thought about him in the Stradbroke in the initial nominations, but after he faded on his run in the Hawkesbury Guineas we couldn’t quite see it happening.
“Consequently, we have to find the late pay-up now because we left him out of the first declarations.
“But since then – as is customary when you leave a horse out of the acceptances, all cylinders start firing.
“And he’s been firing ever since.
“The win was good enough there, and probably from that prizemoney we could arguably find the money necessary to throw him back in.”
Cummings certainly does not regret anything, especially after seeing his young sprinter win a feature on Doomben Cup Day.
“The right call was made by freshening him up since the failure in the Hawkesbury Guineas,” he said.
“If we did get a wet track thrown up at us in a couple weeks time – which is pretty unlikely considering it took 100mm to get to a heavy track two weeks ago – he’d be capable there, too.
“He was our trackwork horse of the week. And he’s got up and delivered on the day, which was pleasing to see from a young colt with a bit of a future ahead of him.”
Jockey Sam Clipperton was delighted with the performance of his mount.
“Everything panned out beautifully, really,” he said.
“It was a bit of a tricky barrier (nine), but I knew there wasn’t a lot of pace and we were able to stride into a nice position.
“He’s a bit of an untapped colt. I’ve got a lot of time for him.
“He failed at Hawkesbury. He’s got form on heavy ground, but in these more high-pressure races he was always going to appreciate getting on top of the ground.
“He gave me a nice feel and he’s a very professional type. He was beautifully placed and he’s done a good job today.”