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Absalon clear for Villiers Stakes start
By Warwick Barr
17:29 AEST Wed Dec 11 2013

Go-ahead trainer Sam Kavanagh is ignoring a wide barrier draw to give in-form galloper Absalon his chance in the $175,000 Villiers Stakes at Randwick on Saturday.

Kavanagh turned form student in deciding the Villiers is the best of two weekend options for the horse who has won his past two starts going into the biggest race of the summer in Sydney.

Owned by businessman Gerry Harvey, Absalon is a $26 chance in early Villiers betting.

"Apart from Listen Son there doesn't look to be a lot of speed in the Villiers and I'm hoping he can get across without doing too much work," Kavanagh said.

Kavanagh says he devotes as much time as he can to studying the formguide for an edge.

"I don't have a lot of horses in my stable and I've got to make sure they are competitive wherever they run so I do a lot of work on form and try to understand my opposition," Kavanagh said.

"I find it makes a difference, not only in being able to place your horses but also in helping to explain the race to your clients and they like the fact they know you are putting in that extra effort for them."

Kavanagh is making his way in Sydney racing after opening a Rosehill stable earlier this year and the fact clients of Harvey's calibre are backing the young trainer says a lot for his future.

He enjoyed stakes success in Brisbane with Absalon last month but a Villiers win would be a significant boost to his career.

Absalon has gate 12 in a field of 14 - the maximum number of horses which can be catered for at the Kensington track's 1550-metre start.

"If he drew a gate in the Villiers I would be confident he could get into the money but the wide gate concerns me a bit," Kavanagh said.

The Tony McEvoy-trained Sysmo heads first Villiers markets at $6 ahead of Ninth Legion ($7.50).

Sysmo hasn't raced for five weeks and has recovered from a minor setback to take his place in the Group Two race.

Third elect Coup Ay Tee ($8) returns to Sydney after finishing unplaced in the Coupland's Mile at Riccarton last month.

He shares topweight of 59kg with comeback galloper Western Symbol and has fared well at the draw with gate five.

Coup Ay Tee is one of two runners for Chris Waller with Said Com rated a genuine threat after finishing off stylishly in the Festival Stakes.