Villa Verde’s Cup day quest 

BENDIGO trainer Shaun Dwyer is confident he can start Melbourne Cup day the best way possible – by training a winner.

Dwyer’s two-year-old filly Villa Verde is the early favourite for today’s opening race the $120,000 7News Plate (1000m).

The daughter of Not A Single Doubt couldn’t have been more impressive in winning on debut at Caulfield a fortnight ago and Dwyer expects her to be in the finish again today.

“We’ve just ticked her over. She’s only had a couple of serious gallops since her win,’’ Dwyer said yesterday.

“She’s nice and happy, eating well and working well.

“She’s a laid back filly, so she can be hard to gauge. All you can go on is her eating and her work and both of them have been fine.”

Villa Verde officially doesn’t turn two until Thursday and will go to the spelling paddock after today’s run.

“On the face of it you’d expect her to race well again,’’ Dwyer said.

“If she is ready for the paddock she’ll run fifth or sixth.

“It’s hard to tell with two-year-olds, but from what I’ve seen of my filly I’d be happy for her to run even if this was her first start.”

Villa Verde will start from barrier 14 in a field of 15 and has the services of star jockey Michael Rodd.

“Racing down the straight for the first time is a slight worry, but all the field has to do it,’’ Dwyer said.

“Michael Rodd has had a good think about it and he expects the field to angle to the left and go to the rail.

“He wants to follow them over and slot in midfield with cover somewhere. He won’t go too early on her. We’ve worked her down the middle of the course proper at Bendigo a couple of times and she hasn’t had any issues with that.’’

BIG IMPRESSION: Villa Verde will start favourite in today’s first event at Flemington. Picture: FAIRFAX

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