AFTER a turbulent week in racing, the focus shifts back to the track with the year’s first Group 1 race attracting a quality field to Caulfield this Saturday.
Sixteen horses have nominated for the CF Orr Stakes (1400m), including no less than four runners relocated from banned trainer Darren Weir’s stables in the past week.
So how does the race shape up and where does the value lie? Here’s our read on how the Orr Stakes is likely to play out and suggested bets.
While most of the on-pacers have drawn out wide in this event, they shouldn’t need to work overly hard to cross and assume their desired position. The Likes of FELL SWOOP, HOLBEIN, MOSS’N’DALE and WHISPERING BROOK will all look to negate their outside draws with early speed. Key chances BRAVE SMASH, KEMENTARI and LAND OF PLENTY will all assume positions amongst a crowded pack and will need the breaks turning for home.
BEST OF DAYS ($17.00): A bit of value around about the Cummings-trained Best Of Days, who resumes after a Group 1 winning Spring in his first Australian preparation. He was a tragedy beaten first up in August and won his next start despite doing it tough, before heading to Melbourne for two wins and a head second. He looks a good candidate to secure a favourable passage just behind the leading bunch if his barrier manners hold up, and can be running on in the finish.
D’ARGENTO ($12.00): Chris Waller’s ghostly grey D’Argento bookended his last prep chasing home Winx. The more impressive of the two was the first up placing over 1400m, which backed up his fresh wins at his previous two spells. Now a four-year-old, D’Argento is ready to step up this preparation and score at Group 1 level after going agonisingly close previously. Barrier 1 is a slight issue though – his best hope is to perhaps settle on Kementari’s back and hope the favourite finds a passage through the field.
KEMENTARI ($3.40): Star four year-old Kementari kicks off his Autumn after one trial at a venue he’s never missed a place at three attempts. It is almost a year since he last saluted in the Randwick Guineas but since then he’s been Group 1 placed three times. You’d expect James McDonald to try and secure a midfield sit from the low draw – too far back and he could struggle to find clear room when it matters. At his best he will be a major contender here.
BRAVE SMASH ($9.50), FIFTY STARS ($16), LAND OF PLENTY ($6.00), WHISPERING BROOK ($7.00): What do we do with the ex-Weir runners? We’re not entering a dangerous discussion about the issues surrounding the Weir stable, but we must certainly be aware that a shift in environment and training methods has the potential to impact the horses. We just don’t know what will happen and it is hard to back any of these confidently. That said, Whispering Brook is now fourth up, rock hard fit and after winning all three starts this prep, primed for her Grand Final. She must be included under the care of her original WA trainer Simon Miller.
The heat has been on Australia’s most successful stable this week, but there’s been no such trouble for the international juggernaut that is Godolphin. We’re backing two of their stars to come out on top in the CF Orr Stakes.
At the prices we’ll put BEST OF DAYS on top as an each-way special. He looks to have a serious turn of foot and can settle in a favourable spot. He goes in ahead of stablemate KEMENTARI who is a deserved favourite, but like our third pick D’ARGENTO will need a luck from their likely positions in running to show their full talent. In for fourth is WHISPERING BROOK, who will likely be in front at some stage and take running down.
- Best Of Days
- Whispering Brook