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Stakes-double for Godolphin in Sydney and Melbourne and a victory in the million-dollar Silver Eagle

Dave Murray

Emerging Godolphin star Vilana scored a breathtaking win in the $1 million Silver Eagle over 1,300m at Royal Randwick in Sydney on Saturday, 15 October to stake his claims on the $10 million Golden Eagle at Rosehill Gardens in a fortnight.

First-up after finishing unplaced in the G1 Stradbroke Handicap at Eagle Farm back in June, Vilana raced away to a two-length win in the Golden Eagle lead-up delayed after last week’s washout.

The four-year-old, having just his eighth race start, beat Mr Mozart and his Godolphin stablemate Brigantine by two lengths to record his fifth win and take his prize-money to an impressive $914,300.

Godolphin Australia head trainer James Cummings was in Melbourne to supervise Alegron’s Caulfield Cup charge but had made it very clear during the week Vilana had worked like a winner at Agnes Banks.

Assistant trainer Darren Beadman was impressed but not surprised with the stallion’s effort.

“A very, very tidy performance from a horse who has still got a lot in the reserve tank,” said the Hall Of Fame jockey.

“Obviously, this race was called off last week which gave us a chance for an extra gallop or two to put into his legs.

“He had it won a long way out and is a very classy colt.

“He’s Savatiano’s half little-brother and that mare is a blueblood.

“He just delivered in spades today.”

Vilana was the second leg of a feature-race double for Godolphin at Randwick after stable warhorse and dual G1 winner Cascadian had backed up his G2 Hill Stakes win two weeks ago with victory in the G3 Craven Plate over 1,800m.

It was the handsome chestnut’s sixth win at Stakes level and lifted his prize-money total to an impressive $5,159,575.

Patently ridden by jockey of the moment James McDonald, Cascadian came from well back to surge between runners in the home straight to easily beat Just Folk and Promitto.

Cascadian, who returned to Sydney after two runs in Melbourne to start this preparation, is now on course to return to Flemington for the $3 million G1 Champions Mile on the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival.

“He’s in a rich vein of form and even his coat was better than last start, but he’s still got improvement,” Beadman said.

“A lovely ride by James and a great effort by the team.”

At Caulfield, Godolphin colt Sandpaper jumped, traveled and finished strong to win the Listed Gothic Stakes over 1,400 meters.

Premier Melbourne rider Jamie Kah parked the three-year-old in second place to the home turn before he wore down Angry Skies and Custodian to seal his first Black-Type win and take his record to two wins and a placing from seven starts.