Trainer James Cummings has confirmed that talented colt Eurozone will make his weight-for-age debut in the Group 1 2014 Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Eurozone was included in the nominations for both the Orr Stakes and the Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) this weekend, but the Cummings team has elected to give the son of Northern Meteor an opportunity at Group 1 level following a strong hit-out at Caulfield this morning.
The Orr Stakes has drawn a strong set of nominations, with Polanski, Shamus Award and Moment Of Change all set to contest the race, but Cummings told TVN that he is confident Eurozone has a good chance of recording a Group 1 victory.
“He is really fit for the 1400 and we feel like it is a really good time to strike now in a Group 1 early in the season,” Cummings said.
“Three-year-olds have a reasonably good record in the race and a lot of the horses there are beatable.
“We are a fit horse on the scene and we have the class, so it bodes pretty well.”
Eurozone has not been seen at the races since he finished his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a narrow win over Criterion in the Group 2 Stan Fox Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on September 28, but Cummings believes that the three-year-old has a good fitness base after having testing runs at Royal Randwick, Flemington and Caulfield.
“He had a good sweat at Randwick that day and we brought him for a jump-out at Flemington,” Cummings said.
“He did really well that day and finished hard for second in a slowly run heat.
“We thought that we would get him out of his comfort zone again this morning and bring him to Caulfield, so it hopefully won’t be as much of a graveyard for Sydney horses first-up here.
“The horse has had a good look around and had a lovely experience.
“I would say that he will be 100 percent for Saturday.”
Eurozone started his racing career with three straight wins, including the Listed The Rosebud (1200m) at Royal Randwick on August 10, and performed fairly in the Group 3 The Run To The Rose (1200m) and the Group 1 Golden Rose Stakes (1400m) before breaking through for his maiden win at Group level in the Stan Fox Stakes.
All Too Hard is the only three-year-old that has won the Orr Stakes in the past decade, but three-year-olds dominated the race in the late 1990s and early 2000s; with Special Dane (1998), Grand Archway (1999), Redoute’s Choice (2000), Desert Sky (2001), Barkada (2002) and Yell (2003) all claiming victory in the Group 1 event.