Williamsburg to back-up in G1

Improving youngster Williamsburg has booked himself a spot in the Group 1 Sires’ Produce Stakes after outlasting Moko in a slogging finish to the Schweppervescence.

The Group 3 race was held in atrocious conditions with a heavy shower sweeping over Rosehill just as the race was being run.

However, Williamsburg ($10) had less trouble than most handling the mire, edging out Moko ($12) by a neck with the pair gapping the rest, Matcha Latte ($7.50) another 4-1/4 lengths away third.

“He’s got a pretty stout pedigree and he has shown his liking for the wet tracks,” co-trainer Sterling Alexiou said.

“He looked the winner about 300 out but he had to sustain a bit of a slog with one to the line.

“It’s good for him to get a win.”

Alexiou said they had planned for Williamsburg to back-up in the Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick if he performed well, hence the booking of Kerrin Mcevoy on Saturday.

Brenton Avdulla had ridden the colt at his previous two starts but given his commitment to Golden Slipper winner Fireburn in the Sires’, Alexiou and training partner Gerald Ryan wanted a rider who could stick with him for next week.

“As long as he comes through today well, he will probably back-up in the Sires’ next week,” Alexiou said.

“That was always the plan, that’s why Brenton rode the other one (Boyfriend). Obviously, he was committed to (Gary) Portelli’s (Golden Slipper winner Fireburn) next week and that was always the plan with him, that Kerrin would ride, being a jockey that might be able to ride him next week.

“He’s copped his racing very well on these wet tracks so I would be surprised if he didn’t come through it well.”

Several two-year-olds failed to handle the mud with six of the 14 runners beaten more than 15 lengths, while the winner’s stablemate Boyfriend was eased out of the race by Avdulla on the corner.

“He’s OK. Brenton just said he started to hang a bit and the more he fought him, the worse he got. He said I just had to retire him out of the race he was hanging that bad,” Alexiou said.

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