Darren Weir has three runners in the 2016 Ladbrokes Orr Stakes field and he believes that Lucky Hussler is his best chance to take out the Group 1 winner at Caulfield on Saturday.
Lucky Hussler was sent for a brief stint in the spelling paddock at the end of his 2016 Spring Racing Carnival campaign, which was highlighted by a win in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m), but he returned to the races with a very comfortable win in the $1 million Magic Millions Cup (1400m) at the Gold Coast on January 9.
Weir gave Lucky Hussler a couple of easy weeks following his Magic Millions Cup victory, but he has ramped up his preparation in recent weeks and he is delighted with the condition of the Husson gelding ahead of the 2016 Ladbrokes Orr Stakes.
“He is in great shape,” Weir told Racing Ahead.
“He had four or five days up there before we could actually get him home, so he just poked around on the walker and had a couple of trots on the treadmill up there.
“He came home really well and we gave him a quite ten days at the beach, but since then he has had a jump out and a couple of gallops.
“He looks in really good shape again.”
Lucky Hussler is joined in the Orr Stakes field by stablemates Stratum Star and Trust In A Gust, who were both plagued by poor barrier draws when the field was released earlier this week.
Trust In A Gust returned to the races with a credible fifth in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on January 23 and Weir believes he has trained on, while Stratum Star is set to make his first appearance at the races since he failed to fire in the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 31.
Weir said that he is very happy with both horses, but he believes that they will need plenty of luck in running to be any chance in the Ladbrokes Orr Stakes and will be better served at their next race start.
“He sort of had a bit of a rushed preparation to get there because we wanted to give him a run before the Orr,” Weir said.
“He had only been in work roughly nine weeks, so it was a pretty rushed campaign.
“I thought he ran really well and his condition just gave out in the last 100.
“He has come on well since, but the barrier draw probably makes it hard enough.
“He is going to run well, but he needs a lot of luck from the barrier and will be better suited after a cleanout.
“Stratum Star benefits a lot from the run as well.
“Lucky Hussler would be the best of my three, but I am really pleased with all of them.”
Lucky Hussler is currently available at 2016 Ladbrokes Orr Stakes odds of $4.60 and he remains a narrow favourite, while Trust In A Gust and Stratum Star are both priced at $17.