Black Heart Bart was given a glowing report after passing his first test on the tricky Moonee Valley circuit in preparation for his clash with super mare Winx in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) on October 22.
Trainer Darren Weir took the three time Group 1 winner to Moonee Valley to get some experience on the tight tuning track before lining up for the showdown of Melbourne Spring Carnival with Chris Waller’s winning machine Winx.
“The track won’t be his problem after today but someone else might be,” Weir told racing.com.
“He looked to get around the track really well, he just went out and did a bit of evens and strode home an easy half mile, just to have a look around.”
“Johnny rode him and said he felt good, he swapped and changed legs when he needed to.
“I don’t think the Valley will be a problem.”
Irish jockey John Allen let Black Heart Bart work off at even time before letting him build up some momentum over the last 800m which pleased Weir.
“Looking at him walking around before he galloped this morning he still looked big and full in condition and he only ran four or five days ago,” Weir said.
Weir will get a good idea how close Black Heart Bart is to Winx when they have their Cox Plate dress rehearsal in the Group 1 $600,000 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday week and the premiership winning trainer is planning on giving the tough gelding one more solid hit out next week to tune him up further.
“He is in great shape and he will have a good piece of work on Wednesday between races at Warrnambool, or Tuesday if we can get on the course proper,” Weir said.
“That will have him right up to the mark, he will be in terrific shape, whether he is good enough I’m not sure but he will certainly run well.”
Weir has Black Heart Bart racing in terrific form with two Group 1 wins and a Group 1 second from his three Spring Carnival outings.
The former West Australian trained galloper recorded a first up win in the Group 1 $500,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield followed by a second to stablemate Palentino in the Group 1 $500,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.
Black Heart Bart then came out and trounced his rivals with a two and a half lengths win in the Group 1 $500,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
Winx racked up her eleventh win on the trot with her victory in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on September 17 and is on track to win back to back Cox Plates.
Winx dominates the Cox Plate betting at $1.90 with Ladbrokes.com.au well ahead of the John O’Shea trained Hartnell at $8, Lucia Valentina at $13 while Black Heart Bart shares the next line of betting with French galloper Vadamos at $15.
Early Cox Plate market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.90 Winx, $8 Hartnell, $13 Lucia Valentina, $15 Black Heart Bart, Vadamos, $17 The United States, $21 Sir Isaac Newton, Tosen Stardom, $26 Divine Prophet, Hauraki, Highland Reel, Palentino, $31 He’s Our Rokkii, Our Ivanhowe, Sacred Elixir, $41 or more the rest.