One To Watch - Benalla

Mark Smith - Friday September 29

Has the Group I Coolmore Classic heroine Bollinger saved her best till last?.

Royally bred colt Villermont looked every inch the horse he was bred to be when spacing 11 overmatched opponents by upwards of five and a quarter lengths in a maiden over 1606 metres at Benalla on Friday.

The 3yo son of All Too Hard made his career debut over 1400 metres at Sandown back on September 6 finishing an encouraging third behind the Fastnet Rock colt Wassergeist.

Sent off an odds-on favourite at his second trip to the races, Villermont was always travelling sweetly for Luke Nolen who had a double handful before making his move before the turn.

Taking control at the top of the straight the strapping bay was under little more than a hand ride, increasing the margin with every stride.

"He's a terrific horse, the reason I'm up here today," winning rider Luke Nolen said

"He's got a lovely pedigree, a lovely nature and lovely ability so he's a horse with a bright, bright future.   

"He's obviously come down a little in grade (from his first start).

"He didn't get a start in that race at Flemington, the Derby trial on Wednesday, so he ended up here which was another option.

"He will develop into a nice middle distance horse in time.

"The All Too Hard's seem to be three-year-olds. I think this is his second proper preparation with us and everything he has done, he's improved each time and I think you will see him furnish into an autumn three-year-old.

"We'll see how far he gets this preparation but he's heading in the right direction."

Purchased by his trainer Ciaron Maher for $250,000 at the 2016 Easter Yearling Sale, Villermont (pictured as a yearling) races for a large syndicate headed by Vinery Stud.

He is the seventh and final foal of Bollinger who died in October last year.

The daughter of Dehere (USA) spent the majority of her broodmare career in America where her best was the Grade II Louisiana Derby winner Friesan Fire (AP Indy) who was sent off one of the favourites in the 2009 Kentucky.

The winner of five of her eight starts, Bollinger was a half-sister to Group III winners Mannington and  Sheraton out of Marscay's 1993  Golden Slipper winner Bint Marscay.

Mannington is the dam of Group I Victoria Derby winner Benicio and Group II winner Romneya. 

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