Black Heart Bart has added a fourth Group 1 title to his outstanding career record after being crowned the 2017 Ladbrokes CF Orr Stakes winner at Caulfield Racecourse this afternoon.
Black Heart Bart returned to the races with a gutsy performance for second in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) a fortnight ago and the six-year-old did his chances of going one better no harm this afternoon when he jumped well from a wide draw and was able to find a handy position in transit early.
Jockey Brad Rawiller elected to peel the Blackfriars gelding to the outside of the field as Turn Me Loose, Malaguerra and Ecuador led the talent-rich CF Orr Stakes field around the bend and was rewarded with a clear line when the pack arrived on the straight.
Immediately responding when asked for an extra effort, Black Heart Bart was faced with a big task in running down Turn Me Loose and Ecuador as the pair maintained a healthy buffer, but the former Perth galloper’s class again shined through as he poked clear in the final 50m to return to winning form.
Rawiller was thrilled to again be aboard Black Heart Bart in his return to the winner’s circle and rates the horse as amongst the best he has ever ridden.
“The 1400m and Caulfield, he’s made it his own that is for sure,” Rawiller said.
“To be fair he was always going to be better after that first-up run at Moonee Valley and gee he was good.
“You look at his sectionals and Malaguerra is no slouch, but it was always going to be a different day today.
“You have no idea how much I love this horse. Darren’s been fantastic to me a so many people. He’s a fantastic trainer, but a great man as well and he left it to me going out.
“It’s just fantastic when you’re on a Group 1 horse like this. Even if you’re drawn bad, he tells you what he’s going to do and he’s very good.”
Darren Weir has been understandably thrilled with everything that Black Heart Bart has produced since his arrival in Victoria last autumn and confirmed that the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield will figure has his third-up start.
“He’s a beauty, isn’t he? What a horse to have in your stable and I’m just so glad the owners chose us to train him when he came over here,” Weir said.
“He’s just very bomb-proof, a great race horse and he got a great ride from Brad today.
“He ran terrific at the Valley, obviously Malaguerra was too good on the night but at the 600m mark I was a bit concerned at the Valley but the good horse that he is, he got going again late.
“The sectionals suggested he ran well late and he came on since then, so we were happy with him today.
“The barrier draw was the problem, but Brad certainly overcame that – he got him into the three-wide line which is perfect for him and presented him at the right time.
“He’ll head to the Group 1 in two weeks and it’s only racing that will improve him now.”
Black Heart Bart has secured fifteen wins and a further fourteen minors through thirty-eight career starts.