The Group 1 $400,000 Sportingbet C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield tomorrow has been reduced to a six horse field following the scratching of Sertorius due to the extreme Melbourne heat.
Melbourne is forecast to reach forty degrees on Saturday and co trainer Jamie Edwards had hinted yesterday that Sertorius would be an unlikely runner in the weight for age contest and he followed through with that decision today.
“He really suffered from the heat a few weeks back and his work was flat, but as soon as it cooled down his work was much better,” Edwards said.
Sertorius hasn’t raced since winning the Group 2 $350,000 Deadly Design Zipping Classic (2400m) at Caulfield on November 16 and had been marked at double figure odds for his return to the race track.
The Galileo six year old was the second runner to come out of the original eight horse field with West Australian Group 1 winner Playing God being withdrawn because of a leg injury that has forced him to be retired.
Playing God sustained a tendon injury after pleasing trainer Neville Parnham in a Mornington gallop on Tuesday morning.
“He’s been retired now; he’s been a wonderful performer for the stable, he won almost $1.7 million, and I’m happy to say we benefitted from having him in the stable,” Parnham said.
Because of the extreme heat forecast, the Melbourne Racing Club went with an early start for the nine event Caulfield program with authorities on stand-by to implement Racing Victoria’s Hot Weather Policy.
RV’s Head of Equine Welfare and Veterinary Services, Dr Brian Stewart, will be closely monitoring the temperature throughout the day and said that he would not hesitate to call an end to the meeting if temperature readings went above the safety levels.
“With the start of the meeting brought forward to 11am and the Bureau of Meteorology predicting the temperature to peak late afternoon, I am satisfied on veterinary grounds that it is safe for the meeting to proceed at this time,” Dr Stewart said this afternoon.
“There are a number of procedures being implemented under our Hot Weather Policy, including the provision of additional veterinary services, that will ensure the welfare of our athletes is best protected and if their safety is compromised at any time tomorrow then I’ll recommend that the meeting be abandoned then.
“Our veterinarians have the full support of the Chairman of Stewards Terry Bailey to call any meeting off if the conditions exceed what we consider to be safe for racing.”
The C.F. Orr Stakes sees the return to the racetrack of last year’s Cox Plate winner Shamus Award who has been marked the second favourite at $3.20 behind the Peter Moody trained Moment Of Change at $2.30.
The Bart And James Cummings trained three year old Eurozone is marked at $6 in front of the Chris Waller pair of Hawkspur ($7.50) and Foreteller ($13) while Finishing Card is the outsider of the field at $81.