An inside barrier draw has given Black Heart Bart an excellent chance to score back to back wins in the Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Black Heart Bart, one of three Darren Weir runners in the weight for age sprint, will jump from barrier three in the fourteen horse field with regular rider Brad Rawiller in the saddle again and is marked at $6.50 with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Black Heart Bart scored a comfortable win over Turn Me Loose from barrier eleven last year and Weir expects him to get every chance to run home strongly after settling in the middle of the pack.
“That works out nicely,” Weir told the Herald Sun.
“There’s going to be good speed in the race. He’s going well but, as an older horse, he’s still got some issues we’ve got to deal with.”
Black Heart Bart went on to make it two Group 1 wins during the 2017 Autumn Carnival when he beat his stablemate Tosen Stardom at his next start in the $500,000 italktravel Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
The seven year old has failed to find the winner’s stall from eight starts since but has been Group 1 placed on three occasions during the 2017 Spring Carnival, his latest a second to Great Shot in the Group 1 $1m James Boag’s Premium Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot in Perth in November.
Black Heart Bart will be up against Tosen Stardom again in the C. F Orr Stakes as well as stablemate Brave Smash.
Tosen Stardom realised his potential during the 2017 Spring Carnival with dual Group 1 wins in the $500,000 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield and in the $2m Emirates Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
Damian Lane takes the ride on Tosen Stardom and despite drawing the outside barrier in the fourteen horse C.F. Orr Stakes field, the Japanese import has been installed as the $4.60 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Weir said that the wide gate has definitely affected the chances of Tosen Stardom who will need plenty of luck in running to be in a challenging position in the sprint home.
“If he’d drawn well, we’d have looked for him to settle midfield with cover and then use his sprint in the closing stages,” Weir said.
“Now I’m not sure where he’s going to be. He’ll go back but how far back that will be up to the jockey (Damian Lane).”
Weir is expecting an improved performance second up from Brave Smash who resumed for a fifth, with Craig Williams in the saddle, to Thronum in the Group 2 $200,000 Carlton Draught Australia Stakes (1200m) at The Valley on January 26.
Brave Smash ($9) has drawn around the middle of the field at six with John Allen taking over the reins from Williams who is riding the James Cummings trained Hartnell.
“Craig (Williams) pushed the button a bit too early in the Australia Stakes,” Weir said.
“I’m not saying he would have won but he could have finished second or third, and we’d look at it as a better run.”
Hartnell is well in commission in the betting at $5.50 and will be having his first run back since finished well down the track when twentieth to Rekindling in the Group 1 $6.25m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington in November.